Van Kirk, Theodore Jerome, Maj

 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
M 1034-Navigator
Last AFSC Group
Primary Unit
1945-1946, Air Force Bases/ Installations
Service Years
1941 - 1946

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SSgt Robert Bruce McClelland, Jr. to remember Van Kirk, Theodore Jerome, Maj.

If you knew or served with this Airman and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Contact Info
Home Town
Northumberland, Pennsylvania
Last Address
Stone Mountain, Georgia

Date of Passing
Jul 28, 2014
Location of Interment
Riverview Cemetery - Northumberland, PA, Pennsylvania
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
Air Force Memorial (AFM)
  2016, Air Force Memorial (AFM) [Verified] - Assoc. Page

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
He was the navigator on the B-29 Enola Gay for the Hiroshima A-bomb mission.

His Silver Star citation:
Awarded for actions during the World War II

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Captain (Air Corps) Theodore J. Van Kirk, United States Army Air Forces, for gallantry in action while engaged in aerial flight against the Japanese Empire on 6 August 1945. Captain Van Kirk was Navigator for a combat crew of the B-29 aircraft of the 393d Bombardment Squadron, 509th Composite Group, TWENTIETH Air Force, which flew from a base in the Marianas Islands to drop on the city of Hiroshima, Japan, the first atomic bomb to be used in warfare. Flying 1500 miles over open water to the coast of Japan, they manned their assigned positions and crossed the island of Shikoku and the Inland Sea. They constantly faced the danger of being hit by anti-aircraft fire, enemy fighters, or suffering mechanical or other failures which would intensify the risks of carrying this powerful missile. Throughout the mission the element of hazard from the unknown prevailed, for this was the first time that this bomb, much more destructive than any other in existence, had been dropped from an airplane. The effect it would have on the airplane and these crew members was only to be estimated. Shortly after 0900 they brought the plane in over the city, and at 0915 the bomb release was pressed. The bomb cleared, and fell toward the planned objective. They then headed from the area and, despite a minor effect from the detonation, returned safely to their home base. By their courage and skillful performance of duty achieved in outstanding fashion despite the dangers involved in accomplishment of this historic mission, these individuals distinguished themselves by extraordinary achievement and reflect great credit on themselves and the Army Air Forces.
General Orders: Headquarters, 20th Air Force, General Orders No. 69 (September 22, 1945)

Action Date: August 6, 1945

Service: Army Air Forces

Rank: Captain

Company: 393d Bombardment Squadron

Regiment: 509th Composite Group

Division: 20th Air Force
Other Comments:
The bombs and their loading:
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 Ribbon Bar

Navigator Badge

 Unit Assignments
School Assignments - Staff97th Bombardment Group, Heavy340th Bombardment Squadron, HeavyUSAAF Training Command
393rd Bombardment Squadron, Very Heavy  - Tigers509th Composite GroupAir Force Bases/ Installations
  1941-1942, M 1034, Aviation Cadet Navigator Training Course, Harlingen AFB, TX
  1942-1943, M 1034, 97th Bombardment Group, Heavy
  1942-1943, M 1034, 340th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy
  1943-1944, M 1034, USAAF Training Command
  1944-1945, M 1034, 393rd Bombardment Squadron, Very Heavy - Tigers
  1944-1945, M 1034, 509th Composite Group
  1945-1946, Air Force Bases/ Installations
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1941-1945 World War II
  1942-1942 World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Air Offensive, Europe Campaign (1942-44)
  1942-1943 World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Tunisia Campaign (1942-43)
  1945-1945 World War II/Asian-Pacific Theater/Air Offensive Campaign Japan (1942-45)
  1945-1945 World War II/Asian-Pacific Theater/Western Pacific Campaign (1944-45)
 Colleges Attended 
Bucknell UniversityBucknell University
  1946-1949, Bucknell University
  1949-1950, Bucknell University
 My Aircraft/Missiles
B-17 Flying Fortress  B-29 Superfortress  
  1942-1943, B-17 Flying Fortress
  1944-1945, B-29 Superfortress3
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