The Impatient Veteran

  • Martin Harwit


In the spring of 1988, Robert C. Mikesh, senior curator of aeronautics at the museum, received a long and complicated inquiry from a World War II veteran, Ben Nicks, of Shawnee, Kansas, who said he was inquiring on behalf of the 9th Bomb Group Association, consisting of members of a 313th Wing, B-29 combat unit that had been based on Tinian. In the late stages of World War II, Nicks had been flying regular bombing and mine-laying B-29 missions to Japan. While he had not been associated with the 509th, he assured Mikesh that

our Quonsets were within a half mile of the 509th’s and we flew off adjacent runways…. Thus we have a rather deep and personal interest….

Since our most recent convention at Tucson, members of the 9th BG have voiced growing concern about the plans of the Smithsonian with regard to display of the Enola Gay as an important American artifact. We understand that the project is, and has been for many years, “on hold.” The 9th BG will meet again in October at Wright-Patterson. Can you advise me in enough time that I can make a formal report to the 9th BG as follows:


Combat Unit Congressional Action Space Museum Recent Convention Japanese Emperor 
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  1. 1.
    Ben Nicks, letter to Robert C. Mikesh, April 8, 1988, NASM/MH.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Robert C. Mikesh, letter to Ben Nicks, June 24, 1988, NASM/MH.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Ben Nicks, letter to Jay P. Spenser, September 26, 1988, NASM/MH.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Linda Neuman Ezell, letter to Ben Nicks, October 6, 1988, NASM/MH.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Martin Harwit to Bob Adams, Memorandum on “Enola Gay letter from Mr. Nicks,” October 5, 1988, returned with a handwritten note by Bob, and dated the next day, NASM/MH.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Martin Harwit, letter to Ben Nicks, October 14, 1988, NASM/MH.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Benjamin A. Nicks, “The Enola Gay: Report to the Ninth Bomb Group Association and Resolution Calling for Its Speedy Restoration and Display,” October 13–16, 1988, NASM/MH.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Ben Nicks, letter to Martin Harwit, November 3, 1988, NASM/MH.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Ben Nicks, “Enola Gay Restoration Committee Report—Nov. 5, 1988,” NASM/MH.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Ben Nicks, letter to Martin Harwit, December 3, 1988, NASM/MH.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Linda Neuman Ezell, letter to Ben Nicks, December 9, 1988, NASM/MH.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Harwit

There are no affiliations available

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