More than just a green plug

On this day, 75 years ago, 9 August 1945, a 509th Composite Group Boeing Block 36 Silverplate B-29-36-MO Superfortress SN 44-27297, Victor 77, dubbed Bockscar by her normal crew, piloted by the 393d Bombardment Squadron’s commander, MAJ Charles W. Sweeney, dropped the “Fat Man” A-bomb with a blast yield equivalent to 21 kilotons of TNT over the city of Nagasaki, which had two large Mitsubishi plants, with the aim point of the device plotted roughly between the two factories.

It was the plane’s fourth combat mission.

In the West Point Museum is Fat Man’s safety fuze for the atom bomb.

Bockscar took off with this green “Safe” fuze in place and, while in flight, the bombardier, CPT. (later COL) Kermit K. Beahan, removed the green fuze and plugged in a red “Armed” fuze. (Photo via West Point Museum) 

This is the sole remaining part of the Nagasaki bomb while Bockscar itself is preserved at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. 

The green plug for the 13-kiloton “Little Boy,” the Hiroshima device, is at the Truman Library and Museum.

A planned third and fourth “Fat man” bombs were not needed.

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