It was their last mission aboard “Betty-J,” a B-24 four-engine bomber named for the wife of the pilot, Jack Bates, that Elbert Bishop of Paradise Park, east of Punta Gorda, remembers most. The crew was part of the 42nd Bomb Squadron, 11th Bomb Group, 7th Air Force.
“We were scheduled to bomb Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945, but our mission was changed and we ended up bombing an airbase in Kumamoto, Japan,” the 89-year-old former nose-gunner and radar operator recalled almost 70 years later. “While we were still in the air, we could see from a distance this huge mushroom cloud rising over Nagasaki from a distance. Of course, we didn’t know what was going on.”
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