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509th Bomb Wing

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Still an active-duty U.S. Air Force unit with a combined nuclear and conventional mission, the 509th Bomb Wing was established to deliver the nuclear attacks against Japan in World War II.

Present status

It is based at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, with aircraft of worldwide range if air refueled.

World War II

Commanded by Colonel Paul Tibbets, the unit was very secret and reported to a high command level even when training in the U.S. Very few of its members knew even partial details of the mission until very late, although they were told they could contribute to a mission that might have an extremely decisive effect on the war. They trained at a remote base under tight discipline, before moving to their Pacific operational base of Tinian.