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‘Fifi’ Keeps WW2 Aviation Alive

Dr. Wilbur Lyon, 89, of Coeur d'Alene watches as the B-29 "Fifi" prepares to take off Wednesday at Pappy Boyington Field at the Coeur d'Alene Airport. Lyon was an Army Air Force navigator on B-29s during World War II and served with the group that dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, Japan. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

As lead navigator for the group that ended the war with Japan by dropping two atomic bombs, Wilbur Lyon was a witness to one of the most momentous turns of the 20th century. On Wednesday, he sat in a wheelchair at the Coeur d’Alene Airport and gazed upon the silver hulk of “Fifi,” a Boeing B-29 Superfortress like the bomber Lyon flew seven decades ago with the Army Air Forces. “It wasn’t until we dropped the first bomb that they told us what we were doing,” Lyon, 89, said at Pappy Boyington Field. Secrecy was paramount to the operation of the 509th Composite Group, which deployed the nuclear weapons developed in the Manhattan Project at the end of World War II. “I know what I had to do to do my job,” he said/Scott Maben, SR. More here.

Question: Have you studied any of the great wars in world history?

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D.F. Oliveria
D.F. (Dave) Oliveria joined The Spokesman-Review in 1984. He currently is a columnist and compiles the Huckleberries Online blog and writes about North Idaho in his Huckleberries column.

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