Paul Tibbets was born in Quincy, IL., on February 13, 1915. He lived in Iowa and moved to Miami, FL. at the age of 9. At 12, he had his first airplane ride. It was to drop Baby Ruth candy bars at a carnival to the crowd below. With this job, his love for flying was born and would last a lifetime.
He then went to the University of Cincinnati Medical College, with the expectation of carrying on the family tradition of medical doctors. But, his love for flying became number one in his life. He spent all of his spare time and money taking flying lessons.He left medical school in 1937 and joined the Army Air Corp. at Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio.
He was then transferred to the 29th Bomb Group to fly the new B17. . He was made Commander of the 40th Squadron, 97th Bombardment Group (Heavy) at MacDill Air Base, Tampa, FL. He trained his crew in the B17 and flew many hours, day and night.
Before the invasion of North Africa he flew General Mark Clark on a secret mission to Gibraltar. It was from Gibraltar that General Mark Clark directed the invasion of North Africa, “Operation Torch”.
He later flew General Eisenhower to North Africa on an inspection tour. Paul flew many missions in North Africa during 1942-43. He was then moved to Algiers and continued to fly missions.
General Doolittle sent Paul back to the states to help develop a new bomber, the B29. After extensive training with the B29, he was sent to Colorado Springs where he was selected to lead a top secret mission. He was 29 years old at the time. He would command the 509th Composite Group. From the Island of Tinian, Paul Tibbets would go down in history as the first pilot to drop the Atomic Bomb — the target, Hiroshima.
During 1964 he went to India to operate the Military Assistance Group, and in 1969, after this very impressive career, he retired from the military service.
In 1976 Paul was appointed president of Executive Jet Aviation, now Net Jets, with world headquarters in Columbus, Ohio, a position he held until his retirement.