509th Bomb Wing receives historical painting of Enola Gay

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Parker J. McCauley
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

509th Bomb Wing leadership put "The Peacemakers", a painting by John Shaw, on display on Dec. 1, 2021, at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri.

A community partner originally donated the painting, which depicts the Enola Gay being prepared for the first atomic bombing mission, to the 6th Air Refueling Wing at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, before it was transferred to the 509th Bomb Wing. The Enola Gay, a Silverplate B-29 Superfortress, was formerly assigned to the 509th Composite Group.

The 6th ARW traces its lineage to the 6th Bombardment Group which was assigned to Tinian at the same time as the 509th CG. Before being captured by American forces, Tinian was a colony of the Japanese Empire and it was suspected that the local population may have been transmitting intelligence about American forces on the island.

The 509th CG wanted to draw attention away from itself and replaced its distinctive markings with those of the other bomb groups. The Enola Gay was one of several aircraft to display the markings of the 6th BG including their circular “R” tail code.

In light of this shared history, the 6th ARW and the community partners who donated believed Whiteman AFB would be the best home for the painting.