The Boston Globe is reporting the death of General Charles W. Sweeney:
Charles W. Sweeney, a retired Air Force general who piloted the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki in the final days of World War II, has died at age 84.
Sweeney died Thursday at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, hospital spokeswoman Christine Johanson said. She did not disclose the cause of death.
Sweeney was 25 and had never previously dropped a bomb on an enemy target when he piloted the B-29 bomber that attacked Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945, six days before Japan surrendered. About 70,000 people were killed in the explosion of the bomb, dubbed ”Fat Man.” The attack came three days after the Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
Years later, Sweeney became an outspoken defender of the bombings, appearing on the Larry King show on CNN and speaking at colleges and universities.
Sweeney also wrote the book, ”War’s End: An Eyewitness Account of America’s Last Atomic Mission,” because of what he considered ”cockamamie theories” that the bombings were unnecessary.
”I looked upon it as a duty. I just wanted the war to be over, so we could get back home to our loved ones,” Sweeney told The Patriot Ledger of Quincy in a 1995 interview. ”I hope my missions were the last ones of their kind that will ever be flown.”