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Barnes and... A Conversation with Theodore "Dutch" Van Kirk

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STEVE BARNES: HELLO, EVERYONE, AND THANKS VERY MUCH FOR JOINING US. OUR GUEST IS THEODORE VAN KIRK, AND THIS IS WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THEODORE VAN KIRK. IN 1945, HE WAS 24 YEARS OLD AND CAPTAIN THEODORE VAN KIRK. HIS FRIENDS CALLED HIM "DUTCH." HE WAS ASSIGNED TO THE 509TH COMPOSITE GROUP OF THE U.S. ARMY AIR CORPS AS A NAVIGATOR IN THE TINY ISLAND IN THE MARIANAS. AUGUST 6TH, 1945, HE AND 11 COMRADES BOARDED AN AIRCRAFT CALLED THE ENOLA GAY AND SET OFF ON A 6.5-HOUR JOURNEY TO A TARGET THAT WAS CALLED HIROSHIMA. A FEW SECONDS AFTER REACHING THAT TARGET, DUTCH VAN KIRK, IS IT FAIR TO SAY THE WORLD LITERALLY DID SAY AT THAT MOMENT?

I THINK IT'S FAIR TO SAY THAT. BUT YOU KNOW, A LOT OF PEOPLE BLAME US FOR USHERING THE AGE OF ATOMIC ENERGY, BUT WE DIDN'T REALLY. THE AGE OF ATOMIC ENERGY WAS USHERED IN -- ATOMIC ENERGY WAS USHERED IN WHEN THE ATOM WAS FIRST SPLIT IN THE LABORATORY. AND WHAT FOLLOWED WAS GOING TO FOLLOW FROM THEN ON.

LET'S START AT THE BEGINNING. YOU WERE A CALIFORNIA LAD WHO VOLUNTEERED --

I WAS A PENNSYLVANIA LAD. I LATER LIVED IN CALIFORNIA.

STEVE BARNES: YOU VOLUNTEERED FOR THE SERVICE. IT WAS ABOUT A YEAR BEFORE THEY CALLED YOU UP; RIGHT?

WELL, YES, BUT I DECIDED I'D RATHER FLY THAN WALK IN THE MUD. IT WASN'T A HARD CHOICE, FOR HEAVEN SAKES. SO THEN I TRIED TO GO ON TO PILOT TRAINING. I WANTED TO BE A PILOT. AND AS THE TERM GOES AT THAT TIME, I WASHED OUT, AND THIS SORT OF THING, SO I WAS GOING TO JOIN THE RAF, AND OUR KINDLY CAPTAIN THERE TOLD ME, HE SAID, WELL, YOU CAN JOIN THE ARMY IF YOU LIKE.

STEVE BARNES: FOR THE BENEFIT OF OUR AUDIENCE, THAT'S THE ROYAL AIR FORCE.

THAT'S THE BRITISH ROYAL AIR FORCE, CORRECT. HE SAYS, BUT YOU'LL BE DEAD IN A YEAR. THAT GOT MY ATTENTION. HE SAYS, I SUGGEST YOU GO TO NAVIGATION SCHOOL INSTEAD. SO I DID, I WENT TO NAVIGATION SCHOOL.

STEVE BARNES: THEN YOU WENT TO THE PACIFIC, AND YOU --

NO. OH, NO. THEN I WENT TO EUROPE.

STEVE BARNES: OH, EUROPE, I'M SORRY. AND YOU FLEW, I BELIEVE, THE FIRST ALLIED BOMBER MISSION FROM -- OR U.S. MISSION FROM ENGLAND?

B-17S OUT OF ENGLAND. THAT WAS AUGUST 17TH OF 1942. I FLEW IT WITH PAUL TIBBETS AND TOM FEREBEE. THE THREE OF US WERE TOGETHER ALMOST ALL THROUGH THE WAR. PAUL WAS AN OUTSTANDING PILOT.

YOU GUYS WERE A BAND OF BROTHERS.

SO TO SPEAK, YES.

STEVE BARNES: WAS IT COMMON -- I DON'T KNOW WHETHER TO CALL YOU DUTCH OR MR. VAN KIRK.

CALL ME DUTCH, PLEASE.

STEVE BARNES: I'LL CALL YOU DUTCH. OKAY. WAS IT COMMON FOR CREWS TO BE ALLOWED TO STAY TOGETHER LIKE THAT? WAS THAT DELIBERATE OR WAS IT JUST --

IN THE EARLY PART OF THE WAR IT WAS QUITE COMMON FOR THE PEOPLE IN A GROUP TO STAY TOGETHER AND EVERYTHING. LATER ON, WHY, THEY GOT TO MOVE THEM, THEY'D SWITCH THEM OFF, GRAB A NAVIGATOR IF THEY NEEDED ONE, GRAB A PILOT OR A BOMBARDIER OR WHATEVER IF THEY NEEDED ONE. BUT AT THAT TIME WE STAYED TOGETHER, AND WE HAD A FEW INTERESTING THINGS OVER THERE IN EUROPE AND EVERYTHING.

STEVE BARNES: INTERESTING.

YEAH, INTERESTING. WE TOOK MARK CLARK DOWN TO NORTH AFRICA TO PARLAY WITH OUR FRENCH, SO THAT THEY WOULD NOT OPPOSE OUR LANDINGS IN NORTH AFRICA WHEN WE HAD MADE IT THERE. A MILLION DOLLARS OR SO IN GOLD ALSO. FRENCH HAVEN'T CHANGED A BIT. [LAUGHTER BUT THEN WE TOOK GENERAL EISENHOWER DOWN AND HIS STAFF WHEN IT CAME TIME FOR HIM TO COME DOWN, GO INTO THE NORTH AFRICAN INVASION, WE FLEW HIM DOWN THERE ON THAT PARTICULAR JOB. AND I ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT -- THE DAY AFTER WE GOT THERE, THEY TOLD US GO UP AT A CERTAIN TIME AT NIGHT, AND ABOUT MIDNIGHT, OUR INVASION BROUGHT A STREAM THROUGH THE STRAITS OF GIBRALTAR. WHAT A STIRRING SIGHT. WHAT A STIRRING SIGHT. THE FLEETS, THEY WERE SMALL BY COMPARISON WITH WHAT WE LATER HAD AT NORMANDY AND PLACES LIKE THAT, BUT SEE, THAT -- TO ME AT THE TIME, TREMENDOUS LEAD, STEAMING THROUGH THE ROCKS OF GIBRALTAR, NICE MOONLIT NIGHT, AND KNOWING THAT NOBODY WAS GOING TO STOP THEM, NOBODY. AND THAT SORT OF THING WAS REALLY A STIRRING SIGHT FOR ME -- STIRRING SIGHT FOR ME TO SEE.

STEVE BARNES: YOU GUYS SORT OF BONDED, I GATHER, CROSSING THAT CHANNEL ON ALL THOSE MISSIONS.

OH, WE HAD TO, ABSOLUTELY. YES. AND EVERY CREW DID. IF A CREW WAS WORTH A GRAIN OF SALT, WHY, THEY ALL BONDED.

STEVE BARNES: WHAT DID YOU TALK ABOUT, DUTCH, ON THOSE FLIGHTS?

ON THOSE FLIGHTS? HEY, WE DIDN'T TALK ABOUT ANYTHING. WE TALKED ABOUT -- THE NAVIGATOR WAS ALWAYS THE BUSYIST GUY ON AN AIRPLANE. THAT'S ALL I'M GOING TO SAY. TOM FEREBEE, THE BOMBARDIER, HE USED TO SLEEP UNTIL WE COULD GET TO THE TARGET, EVERYTHING OF THAT TYPE. BUT THE NAVIGATOR ALWAYS HAD TO KNOW WHERE THEY WERE AND WHERE THEY WERE GOING TO GO NEXT AND EVERYTHING OF THAT TYPE. AND SO YOU WERE ALWAYS BUSY. AND WHILE YOU'RE GOING OVER THE CHANNEL, THERE'S A LITTLE CHIT-CHAT HERE AND THERE, LIKE THE BOMBER SAYING CAN I TEST FIRE MY GUNS NOW AND THIS SORT OF THING, OR MAYBE SOMEONE WOULD SAY, OH, MY GUNS ARE STARTING TO FREEZE UP. LET ME TAKE THE THING APART AND OPEN IT UP AND THAT SORT OF THING. AND THEN ONCE YOU GOT OVER THE CHANNEL AND YOU STARTED GOING INTO ENEMY-OCCUPIED TERRITORY, HEY, YOU WERE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR AIRPLANES ALL THE TIME. YOU DIDN'T WANT THEM TO JUMP YOU WITHOUT SEEING THEM AND EVERYTHING OF THAT TYPE. SO THE CHIT-CHAT THEN WAS, YOU KNOW, 9:00 --

STEVE BARNES: BACK TO BUSINESS.

OH, VERY MUCH BACK TO BUSINESS. AND THEN WHEN YOU GET INTO THE FLAK FIELDS AND THAT SORT OF THING, WHY, IT WAS JUST WHEN ARE THESE GUYS GOING TO STOP SHOOTING AT US, FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE. THE FLAK WAS COMING UP VERY THICK AND HEAVY. SO IT WAS JUST THE ROUTINE CHIT-CHAT THAT WAS ALMOST ALL CONNECTED WITH GETTING THE PLANE OVER THE TARGET, HITTING THE BOMBS ON THE TARGET.

MECHANICAL TROUBLE FROM ANY AIRPLANE FIRE, CLOSE CALLS?

OH, YEAH, YEAH, A NUMBER OF TIMES. YEAH. I'VE BEEN SITTING WITH THAT BOTTOM HATCH AT THE B-17 OPEN WITH MY FEET HANGING OUT A A NUMBER OF TIMES WAITING TO JUMP AND THIS TYPE OF THING. I ALWAYS SAID AS LONG AS THAT AIRPLANE IS FLYING, I'M GOING TO STAY WITH IT. I DIDN'T WANT TO JUMP UNLESS I HAD TO. THAT'S WHERE PAUL TIBBETS COMES IN. YOU KNOW, I FLEW ON A NUMBER OF MISSIONS WITH PAUL, AND HE REALLY WAS A GREAT PILOT, AND I CAN REMEMBER ONE MISSION THAT WE GOT -- YOU KNOW, WE USED TO ATTACK HEAD ON AT THAT PARTICULAR POINT. THEY COME IN AT US LIKE THAT, THEN BREAK AWAY DOWN. JUST SHOW THEIR ARMORED UNDERSIDE TO US, THEIR GUN. I ALMOST GOT HIT AT THE JOCULAR JOINT HERE. TOM FEREBEE AND I WERE THE TWO LOUSIEST GUNNERS YOU EVER SAW IN THE NOSE OF A B-17. WE FIRED MORE AMMUNITION AT MORE AIRPLANES WITHOUT HITTING A DAMN THING. I THINK WE'RE IN THE GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS.

STEVE BARNES: BY ONE STANDARD YOU SUCCEEDED. YOU ARE SITTING HERE TODAY.

THAT'S BECAUSE THE GERMANS WERE LOUSY SHOTS, MORE THAN MY DEFENSIVE SKILLS, I TELL YOU THAT RIGHT NOW.

STEVE BARNES: LET'S GO TO THE PACIFIC NOW, IF WE MAY. YOU WENT BACK TO STATESIDE AFTER EUROPE?

MORE THINGS ABOUT EUROPE.

STEVE BARNES: NO, PLEASE.

WE HAD SIX AIR PLANES DOWN THERE FROM TAKING EISENHOWER DOWN, SO WE DECIDED WE OUGHT TO DO SOME GOOD, AND WHEN WENT INTO A BRITISH FIELD MARSHALL THERE WHO WAS COMMANDING THE AREA AROUND ALGIERS, SAID, YOU KNOW, WE NEED SOME BOMBS, NEED GAS. SO THE GUY GAVE US A BOMB TRUCK, AND WE HAD TO CARRY OUR OWN GAS AND OUR OWN BOMBS FROM THE DOCKS OUT TO OUR SHIPS, LOAD THEM OURSELVES, AND THEN FLY THE MISSION. HAVE YOU EVER REFUELED A B-17 ON A FIVE-GALLON CAN?

STEVE BARNES: I MUST SAY I HAVE NOT.

WELL, NOT MANY PEOPLE I HAVE, BUT I HAVE. I HELPED, LET'S PUT IT THAT WAY.

STEVE BARNES: NOT A SNAP JOB, I GUESS.

NO. YOU OPEN UP A LOT OF FIVE-GALLON CANS TO REFUEL THAT BABY. THEN WE FLY THE MISSION, AND INTERESTING THING ABOUT THAT, WE WENT BACK TO THE FIELD MARSHAL AGAIN AND SAID, WELL, I HAVE NO MAPS OF THE AREA. WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO BOMB? THIS SORT OF THING. HE SAYS, WELL, HE SAYS, I THINK WE CAN FIND YOU SOME MAPS. SO HE WENT OUT AND HE GOT A STANDARD OIL ROAD MAP, AND HE BROUGHT IT BACK AND GAVE IT TO ME, AND THAT'S WHAT I USED TO NAVIGATE THE FIRST MISSION IN NORTH AFRICA.

STEVE BARNES: PACIFIC.

OKAY.

WELL, YOU CAME BACK STATESIDE FOR A WHILE.

I CAME BACK STATESIDE AND WAS AT A NAVIGATION SCHOOL OVER HERE IN MONROE, LOUISIANA.

STEVE BARNES: YEAH, DID SOME TRAINING, A LOT OF ADDITIONAL TRAINING, IF I READ CORRECTLY.

UH-HUH.

STEVE BARNES: THEN BACK TO THE PACIFIC. DID YOU KNOW WHEN YOU LEFT FOR THE PACIFIC, YOU AND YOUR COLLEAGUES, COMRADES, THAT THIS MAY BE A SPECIAL TOUR?

OH, YES, WE DID, BECAUSE WHEN PAUL TIBBETS CALLED ME TO SEE IF I'D JOIN US -- WE STILL ARGUE ABOUT THIS, BY THE WAY. HE ALWAYS CLAIMS, WELL, YOU VOLUNTEERED FOR THIS JOB, AND I SAY YES, PAUL, BUT WHEN I FINALLY GOT MY ORDERS, THEY WERE DATED TWO DAYS BEFORE YOUR TELEPHONE CALL. SO MUCH FOR THE VOLUNTEERING. BUT WE DIDN'T KNOW WHAT IT WAS GOING TO BE, BUT PAUL TOLD US -- TOLD ME -- EXCUSE ME -- AND PROBABLY TOLD THE OTHERS ALSO, HE SAID, WHAT WE ARE GOING TO DO, EITHER A, SIGNIFICANTLY SHORTEN THE WAR OR END THE WAR. AND THAT'S -- HE SAID, WELL, THAT'S WHAT WE'RE GOING TO BE INVOLVED IN.

STEVE BARNES: AT THAT POINT, HAD YOU JUST HEARD ABOUT WHAT WAS GOING ON AT LOS ALAMOS OR MANHATTAN PROJECT?

NO, I HAD NOT. I HADN'T HEARD A THING ABOUT IT AT THAT TIME. ALL I KNEW IS WHAT I READ IN POPULAR MECHANICS OR THINGS LIKE THAT. IT WASN'T UNTIL LATER, UNTIL I GOT OUT WIND OVER UTAH, THE EARLY PARTS OF 1945, WHEN IF YOU HAD ANY BRAINS AND YOU WERE AT WENDOVER DURING THAT PERIOD AND YOU DID NOT GUESS THAT IT WAS AN ATOMIC BOMB, THERE'S SOMETHING WRONG WITH YOU, BECAUSE YOU SAW A LOT OF ATOMIC PHYSICISTS RUNNING AROUND AND EVERYTHING OF THAT TYPE. THEY WERE TELLING YOU YOU WERE GOING TO GO OUT AND DO SOMETHING THAT WAS GOING TO DESTROY AN ENTIRE CITY AND POSSIBLY END THE WAR, AND IF YOU COULD NOT PUT THREE AND THREE TOGETHER AND COME UP WITH THE FACT THAT IT WAS AN ATOMIC BOMB, WHY, YOU WERE PRETTY STUPID.

STEVE BARNES: YOU ADDED THREE AND THREE AND YOU GOT SIX. WAS IT POSSIBLE TO SENSE THEN WHAT WAS MEANT BY ATOMIC BOMB AND WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN? I MEAN, WERE YOU ABLE TO COMPREHEND EXACTLY --

NO, I DON'T THINK IT WAS. YOU KNOW, WE WERE TALKING EARLIER HERE, AND I SAID THE BIGGEST THING I'D EVER DROPPED BEFORE WAS A 2,000-POUND BOMB. YOU KNOW, A 2,000-POUND BOMB MAKES A BIG OLD HOLE IN THE GROUND AN EVERYTHING OF THAT TYPE, BUT IT WAS HARD TO VISUALIZE WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN WHEN THE ATOMIC BOMB WAS DROPPED AND THEY SAID IT WILL DESTROY MOST OF A CITY. YOU KNOW, YOUR VISUALIZATION DIDN'T JUMP THAT FAR, IN MY OPINION.

WHEN YOU DROPPED A 2,000-POUND BOMB -- LET'S ASSUME THAT IT HIT A TARGET, I'LL SAY A FACTORY -- WHAT WOULD ONE 2,000-POUND BOMB CAPABLE OF DOING? WHAT KIND OF DAMAGE?

DEPENDING ON WHERE YOU DROPPED THEM. IF YOU DROPPED THEM ALONG THE EAST COAST THERE, THEY WOULD BOUNCE OFF. THAT'S NUMBER ONE. WE USED TO DROP A LOT THAT BOUNCED OFF TOO, I MIGHT ADD. BUT IF THEY DROPPED IN A PLACE, JUST A ROOF OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT, WHY, IT WOULD GO DOWN, MAYBE TO THE FIRST FLOOR, AND THEN EXPLODE THERE. AND YOU'D HAVE A PLACE MAYBE AS WIDE AS THIS ROOM.

STEVE BARNES: THIS IS NOT A BIG ROOM. THIS IS MAYBE 40 FEET.

NO, THIS IS NOT A BIG ROOM. BUT IT WOULD PUT A PRETTY GOOD-SIZE HOLE THERE. AND IF YOU WERE TEN FOOT AWAY, WHY -- AND SOMETHING WAS FLYING OR THE BLAST EFFECT OR SOMETHING WOULD HIT YOU, WHY, IT WOULD KILL YOU, OBVIOUSLY.

STEVE BARNES: SO WE LOSE TRACK. WE CIVILIANS, WE DON'T THINK THAT THE MASSIVE DAMAGE WE SAW IN CONVENTIONAL BOMBING IN THE WAR, PARTICULARLY EUROPE, THAT'S THE RESULT OF SCORES, FOR EXAMPLE, OF FOR EXAMPLE, 2,000-POUND BOMBS.

ABSOLUTELY. AND OUR ACCURACY OVER THERE WAS ABYSMAL. IT REALLY WAS. THE FUNNY PART OF IT IS THEY TRACK HOW FAR THE AVERAGE BOMB IN EUROPE MISSED A TARGET, AND DON'T HOLD ME TO THESE EXACTLY, BUT IT WAS LARGE, OVER 500 FEET, I KNOW. THEN THEY DID THE SAME THING IN VIETNAM AND THAT SORT OF THING, AND NOW THEY DO IT, AND THEY'RE DOING IT IN IRAQ. PAUL TIBBETS'S GRANDSON IS NOW THE COMMANDING OFFICER OF THE 393RD BOMB SQUADRON, SQUADRON WHICH HIS FATHER FOUNDED -- GRANDFATHER FOUNDED IN MISSOURI, AND PAUL TIBBETS WILL SAY I CAN SIT UP THERE AND PUT MY BOMBS WITHIN TEN FEET OF WHERE I WANT TO PUT THEM, AND THEY'D NEVER KNOW I'M THERE.

STEVE BARNES: LET'S GO TO THE PACIFIC. LET'S GO TO THE MARIANAS. YOU KNEW SOMETHING BIG WAS HAPPENING, YOU AND YOUR COLLEAGUES. I BELIEVE IT WAS A COUPLE HOURS AFTER MIDNIGHT, ABOUT 2:00 A.M. WHEN YOU GOT A WAKE-UP. ALTHOUGH I THINK I READ YOU DIDN'T GET MUCH SLEEP THAT NIGHT. YOU KNEW SOMETHING WAS UP.

WELL, WE WERE BRIEFED EARLY IN THE DAY, AND THEY TOLD US TO GET SOME SLEEP, WE WOULD BE AWAKENED AT A CERTAIN TIME FOR THE FINAL BRIEFING AND EVERYTHING OF THAT TYPE. I NEVER DID FIGURE OUT HOW THEY EXPECTED TO TELL YOU YOU'RE GOING TO GO OUT AND DROP THE FIRST ATOMIC BOMB, WHICH WE DIDN'T KNOW WE WERE GOING TO GET AWAY FROM, AND THEN TELL YOU GO GET SOME SLEEP. I KNOW PAUL DIDN'T SLEEP. TOM DIDN'T SLEEP. AND I DIDN'T SLEEP. BECAUSE WE WERE IN THE SAME POKER GAME. I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHO WON IN THAT GAME OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT. IF TRUE TO FORM, TOM FEREBEE WON, BUT THAT'S ALL RIGHT. THEN THEY CAME ABOUT 10:00 AND QUOTE WOKE US UP. WE WERE ALREADY AWAKE. THEY TOOK US OVER FOR THE FINAL BREAKFAST AND THE FINAL BRIEFING AS TO WHAT THE WINDS WERE, THE FINAL WEATHER, WHERE THE DUMBOS ALL WERE, WHERE THE AIR CITY RESCUES WERE, EVERYTHING OF THAT TYPE. THE THING I REMEMBER ABOUT THAT, TOM FEREBEE USED TO ALWAYS SAY TO ME, DUTCH, YOU KNOW WHERE THOSE DUMBOS ARE. I DON'T WANT TO GET MY FEET WET.

STEVE BARNES: HERE SHE IS, THE ENOLA GAY.

COMING BACK FROM HIROSHIMA, YES, SIR.

WHERE IS DUTCH VAN KIRK?

RIGHT IN FRONT OF THAT WING. RIGHT THERE. THE BOMBARDIER IS RIGHT UP HERE IN THE NOSE. THE PILOT IS RIGHT HERE SITTING UP, A LITTLE BEHIND HIM. AND I AM SITTING RIGHT BEHIND THE PILOT.

STEVE BARNES: YOU GUYS NEEDED ALL THE FUEL YOU COULD HAVE, SO ESSENTIALLY --

WELL, NOT REALLY. WHAT -- WE WERE VERY HEAVILY OVERLOADED, NOT BECAUSE WE NEEDED THE FUEL BUT BECAUSE WE HAD THE BOMB IN THE FRONT BOMB BAY DOOR, THE FRONT BOMB BAY. WE HAD TO CARRY FUEL, THEN, IN THE BACK BOMB BAY TO GET OUR WEIGHT BALANCED RIGHT.

STEVE BARNES: MATTER OF BALANCE.

MATTER OF BALANCE ON THE PLANE, YEAH. SO WE HAD PLENTY OF FUEL AT HIROSHIMA AND EVERYTHING LIKE THAT. NAGASAKI IS WHERE THEY SCREWED UP.

STEVE BARNES: LITTLE BOY, IT WAS NAMED LITTLE BOY, ALTHOUGH IT WEIGHED FOUR AND A HALF TONS.

LITTLE BOY WAS THE ONLY URANIUM BOMB EVERY DROPPED. WE USED ALL OF THE URANIUM EVER EXTRACTED AT OAK RIDGE, TENNESSEE, IN OUR ONE BOMB.

STEVE BARNES: BEFORE -- LET'S ASSUME THIS IS TAKEOFF HERE RATHER THAN LANDING. WHERE WOULD THE BOMB HAVE BEEN? TWO BOMB BAYS, RIGHT?

THIS BOMB BAY WOULD HAVE BEEN RIGHT BETWEEN THE WHEELS THERE.

STEVE BARNES: RIGHT ABOUT THERE.

YEP. THEN THE SECOND BOMB BAY WOULD BE RIGHT BEHIND IT.

STEVE BARNES: ANYBODY -- YOU TOLD ME PRIOR TO THE TAPING HERE THAT ANYBODY WHO WISHED TO -- AND I GUESS THAT WAS ANYBODY -- COULD GO NEAR THE BOMB BAY AND LOOK AT THIS THING.

YEAH, IT IS -- YOU KNOW, THERE'S A SLIDE GAS IN FRONT OF THE -- SIGHT GLASS, ABOUT TEN INCHES IN DIAMETER, MAYBE EIGHT INCHES, SOMETHING OF THAT TYPE, YOU COULD LOOK IN THERE AND SEE THE BOMB SITTING BACK THERE.

STEVE BARNES: WHAT DID YOU THINK? DID IT LOOK LIKE --

I TELL YOU, I KNEW THAT CAPTAIN PARSONS WAS GOING TO ARM THE BOMB IN FLIGHT, AND THAT REQUIRED HIS HANDLING BLACK POWDER BACK IN THE BOMB BAY IN ORDER TO ARM THE BOMB IN FLIGHT. I WAS MUCH MORE WORRIED ABOUT HIM HANDLING BLACK POWDER OUT THERE THAN I WAS THE ATOMIC BOMB AND THIS TYPE OF THING.

STEVE BARNES: WAS THERE A LOT OF -- WAS THERE A CERTAIN SENSE ABOARD THE PLANE? I MEAN, THIS IS -- YOU'VE BEEN TOLD THIS IS NOT ANOTHER BOMB. YOU KNEW THAT.

YEP.

STEVE BARNES: WAS THERE -- WHAT WAS THE MOOD ABOARD THE PLANE? WAS THERE A MOOD --

WELL, THE MOOD WAS, HEY, THERE HAD BEEN A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF MONEY SPENT ON THIS, DEVELOPMENT OF THIS BOMB. IT WAS OUR BIG CHANCE TO END THE WAR AND SAVE MANY LIVES IN THE PROCESS. WITHOUT INVASION, WITHOUT JAPANESE KILLING MORE PEOPLE IN CHINA, AND EVERYTHING OF THAT TYPE. THIS WAS OUR BIG OPPORTUNITY TO DO THAT. DON'T SCREW IT UP. I WAS VERY APPREHENSIVE. I DIDN'T WANT TO BE THE GUY TO SCREW IT UP. I WANTED TO MAKE SURE I FOUND THE RIGHT TARGET RIGHT ON TIME AND EVERYTHING OF THAT TYPE.

STEVE BARNES: THE -- WHEN YOU -- WHEN YOU WERE APPROACHING THE TARGET, YOU FEEL YOUR RESPIRATION GO UP, YOUR HEART RATE GO UP? I MEAN, WERE YOU TENSE?

NO, I DON'T THINK SO. BY THAT TIME YOU'RE -- THIS IS A CRITICAL PART OF THE MISSION, AND YOU KNOW, IF ANYTHING, FOR ME PERSONALLY, I THINK WHEN YOU REACH THAT CRITICAL PART OF THE MISSION, I SLOWED DOWN AND EVERYTHING ELSE. I TRY TO SAY, NOW, IS THIS ALL RIGHT? DON'T DO ANYTHING NOW TO SCREW IT UP. AND THINGS OF THAT TYPE. AND YOU SLOW DOWN, WHETHER YOU WANT TO OR NOT. IT'S ALMOST AUTOMATIC.

STEVE BARNES: WHEN YOU GUYS TOOK OFF, THEY HAD -- I THINK YOU WERE EVEN TOLD, WE'RE NOT ALL -- WE CAN'T BE 100% CERTAIN THAT YOU GUYS ARE GOING TO COME BACK.

THAT IS CORRECT.

STEVE BARNES: THAT'S ON, OBVIOUSLY, ANY COMBAT MISSION, BUT GIVEN THE NATURE, THERE WAS NO GUARANTEE THAT THE AIRCRAFT ITSELF AFTER THE EXPLOSION COULD SURVIVE.

WE WERE TOLD BY THE SCIENTISTS VERY EARLY ON THAT WE WOULD HAVE TO BE NINE MILES AWAY FROM THE BOMB WHEN IT EXPLODED OR IT MIGHT TAKE THE AIRPLANE WITH IT. SO WE WERE WORKING VERY HARD TO BE AT LEAST NINE MILES AWAY WHEN THE BOMB EXPLODED.

STEVE BARNES: THE BOMBARDIER DOES WHATEVER A BOMBARDIER DOES, PUSH A BUTTON, PULL A LEVER.

WELL, HE DOESN'T REALLY. HE HAS A BOMBSIGHT THERE, AND THE BOMBSIGHT IS JUST AN EARLY COMPUTER. HE HAS TWO WINDOW SEATS, HE SITS IN ONE, THE OTHER ONE, THEY CROSS IT AUTOMATICALLY. TOM FEREBEE SAID, I NEVER TRUST THOSE THINGS. HE PUSHED THE BUTTON ANYHOW.

STEVE BARNES: THE BOMB IS RELEASED. TAKE US FROM THAT POINT OVER.

WE KNEW WHEN THE BOMB WAS RELEASED IN THE AIRPLANE, IT WOULD TAKE ABOUT 43 SECONDS FOR IT TO FALL TO THE ALTITUDE AT WHICH IT EXPLODED.

BY THE WAY, WHAT'S YOUR ALTITUDE THERE?

JUST A LITTLE OVER 30,000 FEET, 30,600, SOMETHING OF THAT TYPE, WHICH IS AS HIGH AS WE COULD GET, BY THE WAY. WE KNEW IT WOULD TAKE 43 SECONDS, SO IMMEDIATELY THE PLANE SURGED WHEN THE BOMB LEFT THE PLANE. WE HAD TO MAKE 150-DEGREE TURN TO GET SOME DISTANCE BETWEEN US AND THE BOMB. AIR PEOPLE ALWAYS FIRE THEIR HANDS, YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THIS. BUT HE KNEW HE WOULD HAVE TO MAKE A 150-DEGREE TURN, SO PAUL PUT IN THE 150-DEGREE TURN, LOST 2,000 FEET IN THE TURN IN ORDER TO BUILD UP AIRSPEED. PAUL USED TO ALWAYS SAY, UNLESS YOUR TAIL IS STALLING, YOU DON'T HAVE THAT TURN TIGHT ENOUGH. SO IT WAS SHUDDERING WHEN YOU WERE DOING THAT. YOU MADE 150-DEGREE TURN, STARTED AWAY FROM IT. BY THAT TIME THE TAIL IS TOWARD THE TARGET NOW. AND EVERYBODY IS SITTING THERE COUNTING. I'M LOOKING AT MY WATCH, EVERYTHING OF THAT TYPE. AND AFTER 43 SECONDS, WE JUST KIND OF -- IT SEEMED LONGER THAN THAT, BUT ANYHOW, 43 SECONDS THERE WAS A BRIGHT FLASH IN THE AIRPLANE, VERY SIMILAR TO A PHOTOGRAPH'S BULB GOING OFF IN A DARK CLOSET. AND THEN WE CONTINUED AWAY, AND SOMEBODY HOLLERED FLAK. A VERY CLOSE PERSON FLAK ONTO THE RIGHT WING OR SOMETHING. TAIL GUNNER SAYS IT WASN'T FLAK, IT WAS A SHOCKWAVE, AND HERE COMES ANOTHER ONE. SO THEN WE GOT THE SECOND SHOCK WAVE, NOT QUITE AS BIG. FIRST SHOCK WAVES WITH THREE TO THREE AND A HALF GS. DOESN'T SOUND LIKE MUCH TO A FIGHTER PILOT, BUT IN A B-29 AT 30,000 FEET, WHY, IT WAS A PRETTY GOOD JOLT. THEN THE SECOND ONE WAS NOT AS STRONG, SO THEN WE WERE SURE WE WEREN'T GOING TO GET ANY MORE SHOCKWAVES FROM IT, SO WE MADE A LEFT-HAND TURN TO TURN AROUND SO WE COULD SEE OUT THE WINDOW SO WE COULD SEE WHAT HAD HAPPENED TO HIROSHIMA. WE COULD MAKE NO VISUAL OBSERVATION WHATSOEVER. THE ENTIRE CITY OF HIROSHIMA WAS COVERED WITH THICK BLACK SMOKE AND DUST AND DIRT AND EVERYTHING THAT HAD BEEN KICKED UP BY THE BLAST. AND AROUND THE PERIPHERY OF THE CITY, YOU COULD SEE SOME FIRES BREAKING OUT. BY THIS TIME A LARGE WHITE MUSHROOM-SHAPED CLOUD THAT YOU'VE ALL SEEN PICTURES OF HAD ALREADY -- WAS FORMING AND WAS UP ABOVE OUR ALTITUDE ALREADY, UP ABOVE 60,000 -- 30,000, I'M SORRY. AND EVERYONE WANTS TO KNOW WHAT COLOR. WELL, ON TOP IT WAS WHITE, THE STEM OF IT WAS ALL COLORS OF THE RAINBOW, PURPLES, REDS, AND EVERYTHING OF THAT TYPE. JUST ABOUT EVERY COLOR OF THE RAINBOW THAT YOU WANTED TO SEE IN THERE. AND THEN WE FLEW A LITTLE BIT IN THE SOUTHEAST QUADRANT OF THE CITY, TRYING TO MAKE VISUAL OBSERVATION. WE CAN MAKE NONE. IT'S JUST IMPOSSIBLE TO SEE ANY OF THE CITY. SO WE TURN AROUND AND GO HOME.

STEVE BARNES: AND DUTCH VAN KIRK IS THINKING WHAT?

WELL, AT THAT TIME, MY MAJOR THOUGHT WAS MY LAND, WHAT HAPPENED TO ALL THOSE PEOPLE ON THE GROUND? AND YOU KNOW, SOME THINGS ALWAYS GO THROUGH YOUR MIND AND EVERYTHING OF THAT TYPE, BUT IT WAS A NECESSARY ACT OF WAR, UNFORTUNATELY, AND ALSO THE SECOND THOUGHT WENT THROUGH MY MIND, THIS WAR IS OVER.

STEVE BARNES: YOU KNEW?

I WAS PRETTY DOGGONE CONFIDENT. THE ONLY THING I WAS NOT CONFIDENT OF, I DID NOT THINK THE JAPANESE WOULD EVEN FOOL AROUND WITH A SECOND BOMB OR SOMETHING OF THAT TYPE, BUT THERE WERE WORRIES AND EVERYTHING. BASED ON THEIR ATOMIC PROGRAM -- SEE, THEY HAD AN ATOMIC PROGRAM TOO. EVERYBODY HAD AN ATOMIC PROGRAM. BASED ON THEIR ATOMIC PROGRAM AND THE FACT THAT WE HAD DROPPED THE URANIUM BOMB AND THEY WERE WORKING WITH URANIUM, THEY THOUGHT, THEY ONLY HAVE ONE BOMB. THEY DIDN'T KNOW WE HAD ALREADY DEVELOPED BOMBS USING PLUTONIUM, AND ALL SUBSEQUENT BOMBS WERE PLUTONIUM TYPE BOMBS. AND SO WE GOT BACK, AND THERE WAS NO INDICATION FROM THE JAPANESE THAT THEY WERE ACCEPTING OUR TERMS OF UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER. WE SENT AIRPLANES BACK TO DROP MORE LEAFLETS OVER JAPAN. WE DROPPED MANY, MANY HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF LEAFLETS OVER JAPAN BEFORE WE EVER DROPPED THE FIRST BOMB AND MORE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF LEAFLETS OVER JAPAN BEFORE WE EVER DROPPED A SECOND BOMB.

STEVE BARNES: WHAT WAS THE MOOD ABOARD THE PLANE? YOU HAD SEEN A CITY CONSUMED, JUST COVERED IN SMOKE AND DEBRIS AND MASSIVE --

THE MOOD ON THE PLANE AND EVERYTHING WAS -- MAJOR ONE WAS WHAT I SAID THE SECOND TIME, MY SECOND REACTION, THIS WAR IS OVER. AND EVERYTHING OF THAT TYPE.

STEVE BARNES: COULD YOU FEEL THE TUG OF HISTORY AT THAT MOMENT SAYING -- OR THE SENSE THAT, OH, BOY, WE HAVE OPENED A DOOR? MANKIND HAS OPENED A DOOR?

NO. WE JUST WANT TO GET BACK TO OUR BASE AND GET THE FREE BEER.

STEVE BARNES: YEAH.

NO, AT THAT PARTICULAR POINT, I DON'T THINK WE HAD A -- ANY SENSE OF HISTORY OR ANYTHING OF THAT TYPE. WE HAD BEEN THERE FOR -- I'D BEEN THERE FOR FIVE YEARS, AND -- FOUR YEARS, REALLY -- AND YOU KNOW, I WAS GETTING TIRED OF THIS WAR AND EVERYTHING OF THAT TYPE, AND IT WAS JUST -- JUST WANT TO GET THE WAR OVER WITH AND GET HOME.

STEVE BARNES: AND NOW, YOU'VE HAD 60-SOME-ODD YEARS TO CONTEMPLATE OR REFLECT ON.

WELL, RIGHT NOW I LOOK BACK AND I SAY, EVERYTHING BEING EXACTLY THE SAME AS IT WAS AT THAT PARTICULAR TIME, I WOULD DO IT AGAIN AND EVERYTHING LIKE THAT. YOU HAD TO REMEMBER THERE WERE ABOUT 10,000 PEOPLE BEING KILLED OVER THERE EVERY WEEK. IT WASN'T SO MUCH AMERICANS, BECAUSE UNLESS WE WERE INVOLVED IN AN INVASION OR, YOU KNOW, SOMETHING LIKE THAT, OUR LOSSES WERE NOT ALL THAT HEAVY. YEAH, WE LOST MAYBE TEN CREWS A WEEK OR SOMETHING OF THAT TYPE. IF AN ENGINE DIDN'T PULL FULL POWER AND IT WAS GOING DOWN THE RUNWAY, THEY WOULD CRASH AT THE END OF THE RUNWAY AND EVERYTHING. BUT THAT'S RELATIVELY, RELATIVELY INSIGNIFICANT. BUT THE BIGGER SLAUGHTER WAS COMING APART OVER IN CHINA AND INDONESIA AND EVERYTHING OF THAT TYPE, AND I HAVE CHINESE PEOPLE TODAY COME UP TO ME AND THANK ME PROFUSELY FOR DROPPING THE BOMB BECAUSE THEIR PEOPLE WERE BEING KILLED THERE WILLY-NILLY, PRACTICALLY. AND SO BASICALLY, IT WAS ALL THOSE PEOPLE THAT WERE GOING TO BE KILLED IF THE BOMB HAD NOT BEEN DROPPED. THE OTHER THING ABOUT IT IS I DON'T KNOW WHEN THE WAR WOULD HAVE ENDED IF WE HADN'T DROPPED THE BOMB. IT WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN AUGUST 14TH, I'LL TELL YOU THAT RIGHT NOW. I SUSPECT IS IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN ANOTHER MONTH, SIX WEEKS, TWO MONTHS, WHATEVER.

STEVE BARNES: YOU ARE ONE OF THE RARE PEOPLE ALIVE TODAY WHO HAVE SEEN WHAT A NUCLEAR WEAPON CAN DO. ANY THOUGHTS NOW ON THE NATURE OF NOT ONLY THERMONUCLEAR WAR, BUT THE WAR ITSELF. YOU'VE TASTED IT, YOU'VE SEEN IT, YOU'VE WATCHED COMRADES DIE.

I HAVE OFTEN SAID THAT I THOUGHT THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE SEEN NUCLEAR WEAPONS EXPLODE OR HAD REPORTS OF THEM, LEADERS RUSSIAN LEADERS, PEOPLE OF THAT TYPE. THEY ARE NOT THE PEOPLE WE HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT USING -- EXPLODING ANOTHER NUCLEAR WEAPON. YEAH, THEY MIGHT DO IT IN RETALIATION, BUT THEY ARE NOT GOING TO START ANYTHING WITH IT. AND I THINK, YOU KNOW, WE HAVEN'T HAD A BOMB EXPLODE NOW FOR 62 YEARS, SOMETHING OF THAT TYPE. EVERYTHING OF THAT TYPE. MY CONCERNS RIGHT NOW ARE WHAT HAPPENS AMONG THE TERRORIST-TYPE COUNTRIES. YOU KNOW, BOMBS ARE EASY TO MAKE. IF YOU HAVE THE MATERIAL. I CAN RECOMMEND A GOOD BOOK THAT WILL TELL YOU HOW TO MAKE ONE.

STEVE BARNES: THEY DON'T WEIGH TONS ANYMORE EITHER.

NO, THEY ARE PEANUTS AND THIS SORT OF THING. I HAVE GREAT CONCERNS ABOUT WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF THE TERRORIST NATIONS GET THEIR HANDS ON THEM.

STEVE BARNES: THIS IS A BOOK, THE 509TH REMEMBER. TAKE JUST A MOMENT AND COMMEND IT TO THE ATTENTION OF THE AUDIENCE BECAUSE IT'S ABSOLUTELY FASCINATING, REALLY, MORE HISTORY IN THAT THAN --

WELL, THAT PARTICULAR BOOK WAS WRITTEN BY THE PEOPLE IN THE 509TH. YEARS LATER WE ALL WROTE WHAT WE REMEMBERED ABOUT THE 509TH AND WHAT WAS GOOD ABOUT IT, WHAT WAS BAD ABOUT IT, YOU KNOW, FROM THE COLD WEATHER AT WINDOVER UTAH AND BURNING YOUR PANTS ON THE LITTLE STOVES THEY HAD THERE AND EVERYTHING OF THAT TYPE TO ALL THE GOOD THINGS THEY HAD ABOUT IT. THE BEST ACCOUNT OF THE HIROSHIMA MISSION, I THINK, IS IN THAT BOOK, FOR EXAMPLE. AND BOB KRAUSE AND HIS WIFE, AMELIA, COLLECTED THOSE WRITINGS FOR MANY YEARS SO THEY COULD PUT TOGETHER A LITTLE BOOKLET THAT WE'D USE AT OUR REUNIONS AND EVERYTHING OF THIS TYPE. AND FINALLY THEY CAME TO THE REALIZATION THAT THEY HAD THE BEST COLLECTION OF WRITINGS ABOUT THE DROPPINGS OF THE BOMBS AND THE 509TH GROUP AND EVERYTHING THAT EVERYBODY HAD, SO THEY WORKED A COUPLE OF YEARS, AT LEAST, PUT ING IT ALL TOGETHER IN THAT BOOK. AND IT'S A BIG BOOK. HARD TO HOLD. DON'T TRY TO HOLD IT IN BED AT NIGHT TO READ IT AND THAT SORT OF THING.

STEVE BARNES: A LOT OF PHOTOGRAPHS, A LOT OF MEMORIES, A LOT OF DOCUMENTS. EVERY PHOTOGRAPH THAT BOB HAS IS IN THAT BOOK ALSO, ABOUT A THOUSAND PHOTOGRAPHS IN THAT BOOK OF ALL THE PLANES, ALL THE PEOPLE, AND EVERYTHING OF THAT TYPE. I REFER TO IT QUITE OFTEN, I REALLY DO.

STEVE BARNES: YOU ARE A PART OF -- IT'S IN THE VERNACULAR NOW -- THE GREATEST GENERATION.

AH, BALONEY.

STEVE BARNES: OH, COME ON.

HEY, WE DID IT BECAUSE WE HAD TO, THAT'S NUMBER ONE. AND WHEN THEY GAVE ME A B-17 TO FLY AROUND, I THOUGHT IT WAS GREAT. TOOK THE PLACE OF MY TIN LIZZY AND THAT SORT OF THING. HERE I AM, I GOT AN AIRPLANE I CAN FLY AROUND IN. BUT I THINK EVERYBODY IN THE WAR DID THEIR BEST NOT TO LET THEIR BUDDIES DOWN. I THINK IF THERE'S ANY ONE DRIVING FORCE IN THE WAR, IT WAS I WILL NOT LET MY BUDDIES DOWN. IF YOU ARE IN AN AIRPLANE, IF YOU'RE IN AN INFANTRY DIVISION, ANYTHING OF THAT TYPE, I'VE GOT TO TAKE CARE OF MY BUDDIES, AND IF THEY CAN DO IT, GODDAMNED, I CAN DO IT TOO. AND I STILL THINK WE HAVE A LOT OF THAT SPIRIT, MAYBE NOT AS MUCH AS WE HAD THEN, BUT WE MIGHT HAVE IF THEY ALL HAD TO GO SOMEPLACE.

STEVE BARNES: THE POLITICAL CLIMATE IS A LITTLE DIFFERENT, THOUGH.

OH, IT'S CHANGED. FAR DIFFERENT, FAR DIFFERENT, YES, BUT I NEVER WILL UNDERSTAND THAT. I DON'T UNDERSTAND POLITICS, PERIOD.

STEVE BARNES: WELL, I'M NOT SAYING THAT THERE WAS NOT -- I WAS A BIT YOUNG, BUT IN MY READINGS -- THERE WAS SOME DISSENT AT HOME.

NOT MUCH. NOT MUCH, NOT MUCH.

STEVE BARNES: CERTAINLY NOT COMPARED TO THE LAST TWO MAJOR ENGAGEMENTS THAT THE U.S. HAS FOUND ITSELF IN. DID THAT MAKE A SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE TO YOU GUYS AT THE FRONT? OR DID YOU GIVE MUCH THOUGHT TO IT?

I DON'T THINK WE GAVE MUCH THOUGHT TO IT BECAUSE OUR COMMUNICATIONS WAS NOT NEAR AS GOOD AS IT IS NOW. HEY, THESE FELLOWS IN IRAQ, THEY PICK UP THEIR CELL PHONES AND THEY CALL MAMA AT HOME AND THIS SORT OF STUFF. WHEN WE LEFT TO GO OVERSEAS, WE KNEW WE WERE GOING TO BE THERE UNTIL THE DURATION.

STEVE BARNES: [INDISCERNIBLE THE HOSTILITIES, I THINK IS THE FORMAL TERM.

YEAH. SO YOUR MIND-SET WAS DIFFERENT AND THIS SORT OF THING. NOW WE WANT TO FIGHT A WAR AND HAVE ALL THE COMFORTS OF HOME. AND HEY, I ADMIRE THESE GUYS, AND WHY SHOULDN'T THEY HAVE THE COMFORTS OF HOME, BUT IT DOES GIVE YOU A DIFFERENT VIEWPOINT, I'LL SAY THAT.

STEVE BARNES: FROM FREE BEER TO CELL PHONES ON THE BATTLEFIELD. [LAUGHTER I GUESS ON AVERAGE, HOW LONG -- YOU GOT MAIL IN THE MARIANAS.

YES.

STEVE BARNES: MAIL CALL. HOW LONG DID IT TAKE FOR -- I KNOW IT MAY DEPEND ON WHERE -- YOU KNOW, LITTLE ROCK, CALIFORNIA, NEW YORK, WHERE DID THE MAIL START, BUT A SWEETHEART WRITING HER FELLA OR MAYBE A GUY WRITING -- HOW LONG WOULD IT SAY A FIRST-CLASS LETTER TO REACH YOU?

IT DEPENDED ON HOW FAST THE SHIPS CAME, WHETHER THEY PUT IT ON AN AIRPLANE OR A SHIP. I WILL GIVE YOU A LITTLE EXAMPLE. MY SON -- MY FIRST SON WAS BORN THE DAY I LEFT TO GO TO TINIAN, AND I THINK PAUL TIBBETS WAS TRYING TO DRAG HIS FEET SO MY SON WOULD BE BORN BEFORE I LEAVE.

STEVE BARNES: HE WAS, SO YOU GOT A GLIMPSE.

OH, YEAH. BUT THEN MY SON WAS BORN ALMOST AT THE TIME I LEFT SAN FRANCISCO. AND MY WIFE THOUGHT THAT THE FASTEST WAY TO TELL ME ABOUT MY NEW SON WOULD BE TO TELL THE RED CROSS. WELL, I'M OVER ON TINIAN, THREE WEEKS LATER, GETTING LETTERS FROM MY WIFE SAYING, THE BABY DID THIS, THE BABY -- I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW WHETHER I HAD A SON OR A DAUGHTER OR WHAT, BUT THE BABY WAS DOING WHATEVER MY WIFE WOULD SAY IT WAS DOING, ANYHOW.

21 DAYS. I LIKE THAT.

MANY, MANY TIMES.

STEVE BARNES: I'VE HEARD ANY NUMBER --

AND THEY COME IN BATCHES TOO. YOU MIGHT GET TEN LETTERS AT A TIME.

STEVE BARNES: SO MANY VETERANS OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR AND OF KOREA, EVEN VIETNAM, SAY THAT THAT MAIL -- THERE WEREN'T CELL PHONES UNTIL, YOU KNOW, RECENTLY OR A LAPTOP WHERE YOU COULD E-MAIL ONE ANOTHER. THAT WAS A MORALE BOOSTER. THAT WAS IMPORTANT.

OH, YES, ABSOLUTELY.

STEVE BARNES: KEEP THE CONTACT ALIVE.

WELL, YOU -- YOU WANTED TO KNOW WHAT WAS HAPPENING -- I COME FROM A SMALL TOWN IN PENNSYLVANIA, HAD A POPULATION OF 5,000 THEN, HAS A POPULATION OF 5,000 NOW, AND IT'S NOT GROWING THAT RAPIDLY. BUT IN ANY EVENT, YOU WANTED TO KNOW WHAT WAS GOING ON. YOU WANTED TO KNOW WHAT YOUR BUDDIES WERE DOING, WHAT YOUR PARENTS WERE DOING, WHAT YOUR OTHER RELATIVES WERE DOING, AND EVERYTHING OF THAT TYPE. AND TO GET THAT INFORMATION WAS VERY IMPORTANT TO A PERSON. THEN YOU GET OTHER INFORMATION THAT WASN'T, AND I REMEMBER I WAS STATIONED IN NORTH AFRICA AT THE TIME, THE HOME OF THE DATES, SO I GOT A CHRISTMAS PACKAGE FULL OF DATES.

STEVE BARNES: AND THE NEWS FROM HOME WASN'T ALWAYS GREAT.

THAT'S RIGHT. SOMETIMES A LOT OF MAN GOT VERY BAD LETTERS IN THAT RESPECT.

STEVE BARNES: SURE. THE SPIRIT OF SERVICE AND OF SACRIFICE, DO YOU SENSE IT ABRAD IN THE LAND NOW? -- ABROAD IN THE LAND NOW? WE HAVE A VOLUNTEER MILITARY NOW. NATIONAL SERVICE IS NOT COMPULSORY.

IT IS ABROAD IN THE LAND AMONG A CERTAIN CLASS OF PEOPLE. THE MILITARY ARE VERY GUNG-HO, AND THIS SORT OF THING, AND I CANNOT TELL YOU HOW MUCH I ADMIRE PAUL TIBBETS IV FOR HIS SERVICE TO THE COUNTRY, AND YOU KNOW, HE WENT TO THE AIR FORCE ACADEMY, AND NOW HE WAS A FULL COLONEL AND EVERYTHING OF THAT TYPE. THEN THERE'S ANOTHER CLASS OF PEOPLE THAT I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHY THEY'RE STILL LIVING, TO TELL THE TRUTH. THAT MAY SEEM VERY HARSH, BUT THEY HAVE NO INTEREST IN ANYTHING. AND THIS SORT OF THING. AND BY THE WAY, ANOTHER FACTOR IN HERE TOO, OUR POPULATION TODAY IS ABOUT TWICE WHAT IT WAS THEN. AND THAT SORT OF THING. AND I THINK A LOT OF THAT SECOND GROUP COMES FROM OUR POPULATION INCREASE AND EVERYTHING OF THAT TYPE. BUT I OFTEN STILL THINK THERE ARE A LARGE MAJORITY OF PEOPLE, IF THEY WERE FORCED TO GO INTO THE SERVICE AND DO SOME GOOD FOR THEIR COUNTRY, WOULD RESPOND VERY POSITIVELY.

STEVE BARNES: YOU ENLISTED, BUT YOU ALSO KNEW YOU WERE GOING ONE WAY OR THE OTHER.

YEAH, I'D HAVE BEEN THERE SOON.

STEVE BARNES: SURE. SHOULD WE HAVE AN ALL-VOLUNTEER? I MEAN, DID WE LOSE SOMETHING WITH -- WHEN WE ABOLISHED THE DRAFT?

I'VE NEVER BEEN IN FAVOR OF MILITARY CONSCRIPTION, BUT I OFTEN DID THINK THAT EVERYBODY, FROM THE TIME THEY GOT OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL, OWED THEIR COUNTRY SOMETHING, AND THEY SHOULD BE DOING SOMETHING FOR THE GOOD OF THEIR COUNTRY. NOW, UNFORTUNATELY, THE WAY WE ARE TODAY, THE PROGRAM WOULD PROBABLY COST ABOUT $500 BILLION OR SOMETHING OF THAT TYPE, SO IT WOULD BE VERY DIFFICULT TO CARRY OUT, BUT I'VE ALWAYS FELT THAT IT WOULD BE GOOD TO HAVE THE SWISS SYSTEM OF EVERYBODY SERVING THEIR COUNTRY IN SOME WAY.

STEVE BARNES: SHE'S THE ENOLA GAY. DO YOU SEE HER OFTEN?

I GO UP AND SEE HER UP AT THE SMITHSONIAN MUSEUM AT LEAST TWICE A YEAR, YES, SIR. I GOT A GOOD RAPPORT WITH THOSE PEOPLE UP THERE. 1995 WE WENT THROUGH A BIG FLAP WITH THE SMITHSONIAN ABOUT WHAT KIND OF DISPLAY WAS GOING TO BE HAD, AND THEY CANCELED IT, AND I THINK RIGHTLY SO, BUT NOW THEY HAVE IT RIGHT.

STEVE BARNES: HER SURVIVAL WAS NOT ALWAYS ASSURED. I MEAN, SHE COULD HAVE --

WELL, THEY TOOK IT OUT OF THE FLEET DOWN AT PHOENIX AND FLEW IT OVER TO CHICAGO, PAUL AND TOM DID THAT, THEN IT WENT TO THE SMITHSONIAN AND THEY PARKED IT OUT AT ANDREWS FIELD, AND THEY JUST LET IT SIT OUT THERE IN THE OPEN AT ANDREWS FIELD FOR A LONG TIME, AND PEOPLE TOOK PARTS OFF OF IT, AND THEY'D COME IN SAY, I'D LIKE TO HAVE THAT LITTLE AIRSPEED METER OFF THE ENOLA GAY, SO THEY GOT A SCREWDRIVER AND TOOK IT OFF, THIS SORT OF THING. AND THEN THEY GOT A REGIME IN THERE ABOUT '95 AND EVERYTHING, MARTIN HARWICK WAS THE DIRECTOR AT THE TIME, AND I REMEMBER MARTIN TELLING ME AT ONE TIME, WELL, DUTCH, HE SAID, WE'RE GOING TO DO A 100-YEAR RESTORATION ON THIS ENOLA GAY, AND I LOOKED AT HIM, ALL INNOCENT, AND SAID, MARTIN, DOES THAT MEAN YOU ARE GOING TO TAKE A HUNDRED YEARS TO FINISH IT?

STEVE BARNES: THE -- IT'S A PILOT'S PREROGATIVE, AM I CORRECT, TO NAME THE AIRCRAFT?

USUALLY THEY -- THEY --

STEVE BARNES: CONSULT THE CREW?

USUALLY THEY DO, BUT WHEN IT ALL COMES DOWN IN THE END, HEY, WOULD YOU HAVE WANTED TO STICK SOMETHING ON THIS AIRPLANE LIKE THE NAKED VIRGIN?

STEVE BARNES: WELL, I DON'T HAVE AN ANSWER -- NO. NO. I DON'T THINK SO.

AND IF WE HAD LEFT IT UP TO SOME OF THE OTHER PEOPLE ON THE CREW, THAT'S WHAT WOULD HAVE BEEN ON IT. AND I THINK PAUL TIBBETS SUGGESTED HIS MOTHER'S NAME, ENOLA GAY, AND TOM AND I KNEW HIS MOTHER VERY WELL, AND WE THOUGHT THAT WAS A FINE CHOICE.

STEVE BARNES: OTHER THAN THAT, IT'S --

UP IN THE FRONT ON THE -- ON THE SIDE, THEY HAVE THE LIST NOW OF ALL THE PEOPLE THAT FLEW ON IT, AND YOU KNOW, BOMBARDIER TOM FEREBEE, NAVIGATOR DUTCH VAN KIRK, SO ON AND SO FORTH. BUT OTHER THAN THAT, IT'S BARE.

STEVE BARNES: WHAT WAS IT LIKE ABOARD THAT PLANE? COULD YOU EVEN PRETEND TO BE COMFORTABLE ON IT?

OH, YES. HEY, COMPARED TO A B-17, THAT WAS A COMFORTABLE AIRPLANE. B-17, YOU GOT ONTO THE AIRPLANE, YOU GOT 10,000 FEET, YOU PUT AN OXYGEN MASK ON, YOU WORE IT UNTIL YOU GOT BACK. I EVEN LEARNED TO SPOKE UNDER AN OXYGEN MASK. THAT WAS A BIT MUCH, WASN'T IT?

WELL, IT WAS A LITTLE BIT DANGEROUS, WASN'T IT?

ANYHOW, THIS PLANE HERE WAS THE FIRST PRESSURIZED AIRPLANE, AND NOW IF YOU TOOK OFF DURING THE DAY, WHY, IT WAS VERY HOT IN THERE. IT WAS LIKE A BIG HOTHOUSE IN THERE. YOU TAKE OFF YOUR CLOTHES DOWN TO YOUR SHORTS, PUT THEM BACK ON AS YOU CAME DOWN TO ALTITUDE.

STEVE BARNES: WAS THAT, IN FACT, DONE?

MANY TIMES. MANY TIMES. THIS ONE HERE, WE TOOK OFF AT 2:45, SO IT WAS COOL AND EVERYTHING OF THAT TYPE. WE DIDN'T HAVE ANY PROBLEM. MOST OF THE AIRPLANES HAD TURRETS IN THEM, RIGHT, WHERE, YOU KNOW, SITTING RIGHT ALONGSIDE OF WHERE I WAS SITTING WOULD HAVE BEEN A BIG TURRET, SO YOU DIDN'T HAVE THE LUXURY OF ROOM AND EVERYTHING, BUT WE DIDN'T HAVE ANY TURRETS, SO WE HAD LOTS OF ROOM ON THE PLANE.

STEVE BARNES: GUN TURRETS. NOW, OBVIOUSLY, WE CAN SEE THE TAIL GUNNER HERE. WHERE ELSE WOULD WE -- WOULD THE PLANE BE ARMED? WHERE WE WOULD SEE ARMAMENTS ON?

THAT'S IT. THAT WAS THE ONLY ONE. THAT AIRPLANE ONLY HAD TWO GUNS ON IT, THAT WAS THE TAIL.

THAT'S IT? SO ESSENTIALLY YOU RELIED ON WHAT? FIGHTERS?

ALTITUDE, SPEED, AND THE FACT THAT -- LET'S PUT IT THIS WAY. THE -- ATOM BOMBS DID NOT WIN WORLD WAR II. JAPAN WAS A DEFEATED NATION BEFORE WE EVER DROPPED THE ATOMIC BOMB. 85% OF THE INDUSTRIAL CAPACITY OF JAPAN WAS BURNED DOWN BEFORE WE EVER DROPPED THE ATOMIC BOMB. AND I DON'T KNOW WHY THEY WERE STILL FIGHTING. I GUESS IF I HAD TO MAKE A JUDGMENT, I'D JUST SAY IT WAS PLAIN STUPIDITY. BUT THEY CONTINUED TO WANT TO FIGHT AND CARRY ON AND FIGHT THE LAST BIG BATTLE ON THE BEACHES WHEN WE INVADED. TO GET BETTER TERMS FOR SURRENDER.

STEVE BARNES: SURRENDER, THEY GOT A PIECE OF PAPER, THE EMPEROR.

YEAH, WELL, POST-SURRENDER, YES, THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT, WITH THE EMPEROR AND EVERYTHING, YES.

STEVE BARNES: WHAT DID YOU EAT? DID YOU HAVE A RATION?

SANDWICHES.

STEVE BARNES: COFFEE?

WE HAD AN EXTREMELY GOOD MESS HALL. CHARLIE PERRY, HE WAS A FINE COOK. SOMEBODY HAD THE PRESENCE OF MIND TO SEND TRACTORS AND STUFF LIKE THAT OVER, AND THEY FORMED THE ISLAND, AND CHARLIE -- I DON'T KNOW HOW HE DID IT, BUT HE ALWAYS GOT HIS SHARE OF FRESH FOOD. WELL, HE HAD BEEN THE -- I BELIEVE THIS IS THE CASE -- I THINK HE HAD BEEN MANAGING A HILTON HOTEL OR SOMETHING SOMEPLACE, SO HE KNEW WHAT HE WAS DOING. WE ALWAYS HAD AN OUTSTANDING MESS HALL, AND THEN CHARLIE WOULD GIVE US A BUNCH OF SANDWICHES AND STUFF TO CARRY ALONG AND EVERYTHING. AND WE'D -- WE'D ROLL [INDISCERNIBLE DOWN THE LENGTH OF THAT PLANE, DOWN THE TUNNEL. THERE IS A TUNNEL THAT GOES THROUGH RIGHT FROM THE BOMB BAYS. IF YOU WANT TO GO FROM THE FRONT TO THE BACK OF THE PLANE, YOU CRAWLED THROUGH THE TUNNEL.

STEVE BARNES: CRAWLED?

CRAWLED. I COULD NOT GET THROUGH THERE ANYMORE. I AM A LITTLE TOO BIG FOR IT NOW. BUT WE USED TO -- WE'D KNOW A GUY WAS SLEEPING IN THE BACK END OF THE PLANE, WE'D ROLL SOME ORANGES DOWN THERE, HIT HIM ON THE HEAD, SOMETHING LIKE THAT.

STEVE BARNES: RONALD REAGAN WASN'T THE FIRST TO DO THE ORANGE DOWN THE AISLE? [LAUGHTER THERE'S NOT A -- IT WAS CRAMPED, SPACE WAS AT A PREMIUM.

WELL, SEE, YOU HAD TWO BOMB BAYS, A BOMB BAY FORE AND A BOMB BAY AFT, AND OVER IT YOU HAD A TUNNEL, LIKE I DON'T KNOW, MAYBE LIKE THAT, SOMETHING LIKE THAT. YOU GET IN THERE ON YOUR KNEES AND YOUR ELBOWS, AND YOU WANT TO GET FROM THE FRONT OF THE PLANE TO THE BACK OR THE BACK TO THE FRONT, YOU CRAWLED. THAT WAS ABOUT THE ONLY THING -- ONLY PIECE OF LUXURY WE HAD.

STEVE BARNES: THIS WAS A STEP UP FROM THE AIRCRAFT THAT YOU --

OH, FROM THE B-17, OH, YEAH. OH, YEAH. THAT WAS A GOOD AIRPLANE. THAT PARTICULAR TIME, IT WAS STATE-OF-THE-ART AIRPLANE. WE HAD FUEL INJECTION ENGINES ON IT. WE HAD REVERSIBLE-PITCH PROPS. WE HAD SNAP-OPEN BOMB BAY DOORS. IT WAS STATE-OF-THE-ART AIRPLANE.

STEVE BARNES: ARE THERE MEN THAT YOU WOULD REMEMBER NOW RIGHT HERE AS WE'RE TALKING, ARE THERE MEN YOU REMEMBER THAT DID NOT COME HOME?

OH, YES, MANY.

STEVE BARNES: TALK TO US ABOUT THAT.

WELL, I JUST HAD A LITTLE INCIDENT, COUPLE, SEVERAL WEEKS AGO, WHERE I WAS READING ONE OF THESE VETERANS MAGAZINES, AND SOME FELLOW -- SOME PERSON IN THERE WAS HUNTING INFORMATION ABOUT A NAVIGATOR NAMED TED HOGENSTAT. TED HAPPENED TO BE A PERSONAL FRIEND OF MINE, AND I COULD HAVE TOLD THEM -- I DID CALL THEM AND TELL THEM WHAT HAPPENED TO TED, AND WE WERE -- HE TOOK A BURST OF FLAK IN THE BOMB BAY, AND POOF, NOTHING. THAT'S JUST IT. WE HAD A FINE YOUNG WASTE GUNNER ON THE B-17S. MOST OF THESE THINGS ARE B-17S BECAUSE THAT'S WHERE I GOT THE ACTION AND EVERYTHING OF THAT TYPE. THE 509TH HAD NEVER LOST A MAN, NEVER INJURED A MAN, AND THE 509TH GROUP, ABOUT 1700 PEOPLE IN THAT GROUP, NOBODY WAS EVER INJURED, NOBODY WAS EVER LOST.

STEVE BARNES: THE HEARTACHE IN YOUR CASE WAS IN EUROPE?

IN EUROPE, THAT'S RIGHT. BUT BOB COLDER, TED COCHRAN, PEOPLE OF THAT TYPE, YEAH. YOU STOP AND THINK ABOUT THEM EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE. EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE YOU HEAR, GET A LITTLE LETTER OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT FROM SOMEBODY YOU HAVEN'T HEARD FROM IN A LONG TIME, AND I HAD ONE FROM GENE ASHBALKER, UP HERE IN WICHITA, AN AIRPLANE, A B-29 THEY WERE TRYING TO GET REFURBISHED TO FLY NOW, CAN'T EVEN DOCK, AND A BUNCH OF PEOPLE FROM DOCK WERE UP AT OSHKOSH, AND I TALKED TO THEM, AND I SAYS, DO YOU KNOW A FELLOW NAMED ASHBALKER? SURE I KNOW A FELLOW WITH THAT NAME. I GET HOME SHORTLY THEREAFTER, AND HE SENT ME A LETTER. THAT'S A DELIGHT. IT REALLY IS A DELIGHT TO HEAR PEOPLE. HEY, AT MY AGE, WE'RE MOSTLY GONE AND THIS SORT OF THING. SO IT IS REALLY NICE. AND TO SEE THEM GO IS THE TOUGH PART. TOM FEREBEE, BEST FRIEND I EVER HAD, AND WE MET IN THE NOSE OF A B-17 IN SARASOTA, FLORIDA.

IN THE NOSE?

THE NOSE. HE WAS A BOMBARDIER, I WAS THE NAVIGATOR, AND I ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT FIRST FLIGHT BECAUSE WE WERE UP THERE, GETTING READY TO TAKE OFF, AND THE PILOT GETS IN THE PLANE THIS SORT OF STUFF, HE COULDN'T GET THE PLANE STARTED, SO THE SERGEANT COMES UP THROUGH THE AIRPLANE, HE SAYS, FOR CHRIST'S SAKES, LIEUTENANT, IF YOU CAN'T START IT YOU CAN'T FLY IT. BUT ANYHOW, TOM, WE WERE IN CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA, AND I COULD TELL HE WAS SICK, AND I SAID, YOU GO TO THE DOCTOR WHEN YOU GET HOME. AND HE DID, AND HE HAD PANCREATIC CANCER. HE SAID THE DOCTOR IS GIVING HIM SIX MONTHS TO LIVE. THAT'S TOUGH. BUT FROM THEN ON, I CALLED TOM EVERY DAY FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE. AND AT ONE POINT HE SAYS TO ME, DUTCH, I AM GOING TO DIE FROM THIS SOME DAY SOON. HE SAYS, WHEN I DO, WILL YOU SAY SOME NICE THINGS ABOUT ME AT MY FUNERAL? WHAT DO YOU SAY TO A GUY WHO JUST ASKED YOU THAT? SO I THOUGHT A MINUTE, AND I SAID, TOM, I WILL IF I CAN THINK OF ANY.

STEVE BARNES: I'LL BET YOU CAN.

I THINK THINK OF MILLIONS, BUT IN SUBSEQUENT DAYS, I WOULD THINK OF ALL THE THINGS HE WOULDN'T WANT ME TO SAY, AND THEN I'D SAY, TOM, HOW ABOUT IF I TELL THEM ABOUT THAT ARAB GIRL YOU USED TO CHASE AROUND IN A HOTEL OVER THERE IN CASABLANCA. OH, MY GOD, DON'T TELL THEM ABOUT THAT. AFTER A WHILE, HE SAYS, YOU KNOW, I'M NOT SURE IF YOU ARE THE RIGHT GUY FOR THE JOB.

IS IT INSTINCT TO REMEMBER THE OVER-THE-TOP GUYS, THE HAPPY TIMES?

OH, I THINK SO. OH, YES, OH, YES. ABSOLUTELY.

STEVE BARNES: YOU GUYS WOULD COME BACK, I GUESS, IN WAVES OR IN SOMETHING AKIN TO WAVES FROM MISSIONS. OVER THE CHANNEL?

UH-HUH.

STEVE BARNES: AND YOU KNEW -- MAYBE YOU KNEW TILT OR MAYBE YOU KNEW AFTER LANDING THAT SOME OF THOSE BROTHERS DIDN'T COME BACK. WAS THERE TIME TO GRIEVE THEN, TIME TO MOURN OR OR WERE YOU JUST SO CONCENTRATED --

YOU NEVER GOT TIME. YOU KNOW, YOU WERE ALWAYS PLANNING THE NEXT DAY'S MISSION, AND ONE THING I WILL ALWAYS ADMIRE THE PEOPLE IN THE EIGHTH AIR FORCE FOR, THE 8TH AIR FORCE HAD THE HIGHEST RATE OF CASUALTIES OF ANY UNIT IN ANY SERVICE IN THE UNITED STATES SERVICES, THE 8TH AIR FORCE, AND THE 8TH AIR FORCE GUYS HAD NEVER REFUSED TO GO, NEVER. THEY MIGHT -- GUY MIGHT COME BACK, HE MIGHT SAY, I'M NOT GOING TO ANY MORE DAMN MISSIONS. I'VE HAD IT. I'M NOT GOING AGAIN. NEVER ANY FORCING, NEVER ANYTHING OF THAT TYPE. THEY JUST LET THE GUY GO, THIS SORT OF THING. HE'D BE AROUND THERE, AND HE KNEW HE HAD TO GET HIS NUMBER OF MISSIONS IN BEFORE HE COULD COME HOME, SO THEN HE'D SAY, WELL, ALL RIGHT. I'M GOING TO GO AGAIN AND THIS SORT OF THING. SO HE'D GO ON ANOTHER MISSION, HE'D COME BACK AND SAY I'M NEVER GOING TO FLY ANOTHER DAMN MISSION AND THIS SORT OF THING.

STEVE BARNES: AND THEY BORE THE BRUNT OF THE -- THERE WAS STILL A GREAT DEFENSIVE CAPABILITIES ON THE PART. OH, YEAH. YEAH.

STEVE BARNES: SURFACE TO AIR AND ALSO OPPOSING DEFENSIVE AIRCRAFT.

ESPECIALLY DEFENSIVE AIRCRAFT, YES.

STEVE BARNES: GO BACK AGAIN TO THE NOTION OF SERVICE, IF I CAN. WAS THERE A FEELING THAT WE ARE FIGHTING FOR OUR HOMELAND OVER THERE, I MEAN, A SENSE THAT WE HAVE TO DO THIS, THIS IS NOT AN OPTIONAL ENGAGEMENT? THERE IS A DIRECT AND REAL THREAT TO OUR WAY OF LIFE, OUR HOME --

I DON'T THINK THERE WAS DURING WORLD WAR II. WE KNEW THAT WE WERE PRETTY INSULATED AND THAT WE WERE SAFE AND EVERYTHING OF THAT TYPE. BUT COME -- FOLLOWING ALONG ON THAT, THOUGH, I DO BELIEVE THAT THE JAPANESE DID US A TREMENDOUS SERVICE WHEN THEY BOMBED PEARL HARBOR THE WAY THEY DID. AND YOU KNOW, I CAN INTRODUCE YOU TO MARINES WHO, AT 16 YEARS OF AGE, WENT OUT AND ENLISTED THAT DAY, WERE KICKED OUT A FEW DAYS LATER AND EVERYTHING -- THIS IS REALLY A FUNNY THING, THIS GUY DOWN THERE IN MISSISSIPPI, JACK LUCAS IS HIS NAME, AND THEN HE IS STANDING THERE, HE HAS ALL HIS GEAR AND EVERYTHING OF THAT TYPE, AND SOMEBODY'S CALLING OUT NAMES TO GO ABOARD THIS SHIP FOR THE MARINES, AND THIS GUY CALLS A NAME, AND THE GUY DOESN'T ANSWER. SO JACK SAYS, OH, YEAH, THAT'S ME, AND HE GOES ON AND GETS ON THE BACK END OF THE MARINES THAT WAY. THEN HE THROWS HIMSELF ON TWO -- NOT ONE, TWO -- GRENADES, AND HE'S STILL LIVING. AND EVERYTHING OF THAT TYPE.

DOES HE KNOW A SPECIAL PRAYER, OR --

I -- I HAVE NO IDEA WHY HE'S STILL LIVING. BUT HE'S HAPPILY MARRIED, ENJOYS LIFE TREMENDOUSLY, AND EVERYTHING OF THAT TYPE. AND HE JUST IS FUN TO BE AROUND. I DON'T KNOW WHETHER I'D WANT TO LIVE WITH HIM DAY TO DAY, BUT HE'S FUN TO BE AROUND FOR A WHILE.

STEVE BARNES: DUTCH VAN KIRK, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR SERVICE, AND THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS HOUR.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH. APPRECIATE IT.

STEVE BARNES: ALL RIGHT. THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

STEVE BARNES: ALL RIGHT. THANK YOU FOR JOINING US. SEE YOU NEXT TIME.

AETN.org > Programs > Barnes and... > Barnes and... A Conversation with Theodore "Dutch" Van Kirk