Paid Advertisement
Historynet/feed historynet feedback facebook link World History Group RSS feed World History Group Subscriptions Historynet Home page

Wendover Field, Utah

By Stephen Budiansky 
Originally published by World War II magazine. Published Online: March 12, 2009 
Print Friendly
0 comments FONT +  FONT -

Tibbets's crews trained relentlessly at Wendover. So did the ground crews who assembled the bombs. None were ever let in on the secret of what the mission was, though at least a few who had science backgrounds guessed it had something to do with atomic energy. In the skies over Wendover, the aircrews practiced over and over the maneuver Tibbets had devised to shield the planes from the blast of the A-bombs—a 155-degree diving turn immediately after releasing the bomb. They also carried out a series of experiments to refine the ballistics of the bombs and make sure their complex fusing electronics worked.

Pushing open the huge door of the rusting hangar that housed the Enola Gay and the other B-29s specially modified to carry out the atomic mission, Petersen described to me his "optimistic vision" for the site. With a $75,000 grant from the National Park Service, the airfield has recently drawn up a restoration plan. The next step is to raise the necessary $5 million. Petersen hopes the Enola Gay hangar will be the centerpiece, with aircraft displays and a theater. "Most aircraft museums are in new buildings," he says. "But this is the original location, the original setting—this is where the guys were that dropped the bomb that changed the twentieth century."

Subscribe Today

Subscribe to World War II magazine

When You Go

Historic Wendover Airfield (801-571-2907; is a ninety-minute drive west from Salt Lake City on I-80. Follow the signs to the field's Operations Building, where a small museum provides an overview and a driving tour brochure.

Where to Stay and Eat
The three big casinos in West Wendover, Nevada—the Rainbow, Peppermill, and Montego Bay—offer inexpensive, garishly Vegas-style rooms (starting at $45), lavish buffets, and plenty of opportunities to lose the $200–250 a day that the average visitor drops on the slot machines and tables (800-537-0207;

What Else to See
The famed Bonneville Speedway, the standard course for the world land speed records, is a few miles east off I-80. A monument to the 509th Composite Group, which dropped the atomic bombs, is at the West Wendover Welcome Center in the center of town. The remnants of the "Tokio Trolley," used to train bomber gun crews with moving targets, are five miles north of town on Aria Boulevard. And "the world's tallest mechanical cowboy," the 90-foot-high, neon "Wendover Will" that once adorned the State Line Hotel, now stands tall in the center of West Wendover.

Page: 1 2 3

Leave a Reply

Human Verification: In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Related Articles

History Net Images Spacer
Paid Advertisement
Paid Advertisement
History Net Daily Activities
History net Spacer
History net Spacer
Historynet Spacer

Which of these wars resulted in the most surprising underdog upset?

View Results | See previous polls

Loading ... Loading ...
History net Spacer
RSS Feed Daily Email Update
History net Spacer
Paid Advertisement

Paid Advertisement
What is HistoryNet? is brought to you by World History Group, the world's largest publisher of history magazines. contains daily features, photo galleries and over 5,000 articles originally published in our various magazines.

If you are interested in a specific history subject, try searching our archives, you are bound to find something to pique your interest.

From Our Magazines
World History Group

World History Group Network:  HistoryNet | Armchair General | Achtung Panzer!
Today in History | Ask Mr. History | Picture of the Day | Daily History Quiz | Contact Us

Copyright © 2015 World History Group. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
Advertise With Us | Subscription Help | Privacy Policy