In Memoriam—Theodore (Dutch) Van Kirk

Posted 30 July 2014
Photo by John Rossino

Theodore (Dutch) Van Kirk, the navigator and last surviving member twelve-man crew of the Enola Gay, the Martin-built B-29 Superfortress that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, on 6 August 1945, died 28 July 2014 at his home in Stone Mountain, Georgia. He was ninety-three. A native of Northumberland, Pennsylvania, Van Kirk was chosen as the lead navigator for the 509th Composite Group, the US Army Air Forces unit established for the atomic bomb raids. Van Kirk, who received the Silver Star and the Distinguished Flying Cross, later earned chemical engineering degrees from Bucknell University and became a marketing executive with DuPont. The 509th Composite Group aircrews hand-picked their B-29s off the assembly line at the Martin Aircraft plant in Omaha, Nebraska, in early 1945. Martin built 536 B-29s under license during World War II.

Related News