Paul Tibbets, who piloted the B-29 bomber Enola Gay that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, died Thursday. He was 92 and insisted almost to his dying day that he had no regrets about the mission and slept just fine at night.
Tibbets died at his Columbus home, said Gerry Newhouse, a longtime friend. He suffered from a variety of health problems and had been in decline for two months.
Tibbets had requested no funeral and no headstone, fearing it would provide his detractors with a place to protest, Newhouse said.
Tibbets' historic mission in the plane named for his mother marked the beginning of the end of World War II and eliminated the need for what military planners feared would have been an extraordinarily bloody invasion of Japan. It was the first use of a nuclear weapon in wartime.
The plane and its crew of 14 dropped the five-ton "Little Boy" bomb on the morning of August 6, 1945. The blast killed 70,000 to 100,000 people and injured countless others.