Estimated read time: Less than a minute
This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
WENDOVER — Tooele County played a big part in America winning World War II.
The crew of the Enola Gay plane that dropped the first atomic bomb on Japan trained in Wendover. Crem member Theodore "Dutch" Van Kirk died earlier this week at 93 years old and was the last surviving member of the crew that flew the Enola Gay.
Van Kirk spent several months training in Wendover for the mission. The hangar the Enola Gay was stored in is still there — part of the historic airfield.
The director of that airfield said Dutch was just a normal guy, but had one of the most important jobs in history.
"Dutch was the navigator on the Enola Gay. That mission, he navigated that to the point that they were less than a minute off of time when their planned time for the bomb drop. Dutch was an exceptional navigator," said Jim Petersen, director of the historic Wendover Airfield.
Watch the video clips above for more about Dutch Van Kirk and the legacy of the Wendover airfield.