Re: Interview with Pilot of Enola Gay
The Studs Terkel interview is wrong on one point: Wendover Field was in Nevada, not Utah.
Wendover, Nevada is about 120 miles west of Salt Lake City, on I-80. A small city, it's chief industry is its numerous casinos that cater largely to Utahns. Gambling is illegal in Utah: no scratch-off tickets, no lottery, not even Bingo -- thanks to a certain religious element who rides herd on the legislature.
Wendover Field no longer exists as a military base. However there is still a small airport there, largely to shuttle gamblers in and out of the city.
The massive, corrugated metal hangar that housed the Enola Gay and other B29s is still standing, though rusty. The small airport office has a nice museum of Wendover Field, and a replica "Little Boy" atomic bomb to stand beside for a photo.
The museum is struggling, so don't forget to drop at least $5 in the donation jar.
The old, wooden barracks are still standing, but ready to collapse. It's fenced off, to keep "souvenir hunters" and other thieves of history at bay.
Wendover is partly in Utah, but mostly in Nevada.
South of Wendover about 30 miles, in the remote desert, is Blue Lake. This geothermal lake is popular with scuba divers around the region because it's deep (about 85 feet) and warm year-round.
If you're traveling between San Francisco and Salt Lake City on I-80, make it a point to spend the night in Wendover. Check the internet for room prices. Take the time to visit the museum, marvel at the massive hangar that once held B29s (fenced off from access, because it's beside the runway), and enjoy the Bonneville Salt Flats about five miles east of Wendover.
Too many people zip by Wendover, little realizing it has more than casinos. It was a remote air base in World War II, but perfect for practicing bombing and strafing on the salt flats.
When Bob Hope visited the troops in World War II, he called it, "Leftover Field."
The soldiers and airmen went wild with laughter.
"Therein do I see an ugly cat. Smoke. Fire. Brimstone. A vast desert. Holes in parchment. The ugly cat is much amused." --- The quantrains of Gatodamus (1503-1566)