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[[strikethrough]] Co [/strikethrough]] ^[[3rd]] pilot still sees atom bomb's pink
Tells Legion about Nagasaki mission
By Niki Kelly
The Journal Gazette  ^[[8/29/96]]
FREMONG - A rainbow of color leaped from the sky over Nagasaki, Japan, chasing the aircraft away from the boiling cauldron of destruction.

"When the bomb exploded, the aircraft was flooded with a bright light, much brighter than sunlight," said retired Lt. Col. Fred Olivi, [[strikethrough]] co- [/strikethrough]] ^[[3rd]] pilot of the B-29 bomber that dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan, in August 1945.

"There was a myriad of colors, but the predominant color was salmon pink. And to this day, in my mind's eye, I can still see that salmon-pink color."

Many other details, along with the color, have been tattooed in Olivi's mind, 51 years after the second atomic bomb was delivered, ultimately ending World War II.

Olivi, who trained for the mission for about a year, shared his memories with an audience of about 75 at the Fremont American Legion Cassel Post 257 Wednesday night.

He showed a 20-minute videotape of the loading on the Enola Gay of the "Little Boy" bomb, which was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, on Aug. 6, 1945, and the "Fat Man" bomb loaded on the Bockscar three days later.

He also spoke of his experiences at age 23, which included details of the mission that almost failed.

The 10,000-pound Fat Man at first was to be dropped on Kokura, Japan, but because of cloud cover, the crew went to Nagasaki, its second option.

With low fuel, the crew still could not see the drop site.

They began a radar run, but were interrupted by the bombardier yelling: "I see it! I see I t!"

Forty-five seconds later, the bomb was dropped, and the Bockscar headed for an emergency landing at Okinawa.

Looking back on the event that shaped his life, Olivi, 74, of Chicago, said he didn't quite know the extent of the mission at the time.

"All we knew was we had a secret weapon that could destroy and entire town," he said. "We didn't have time to be excited. We had a job to do."

Several audience members were vocal in support of the decision to drop the bomb.

"If your crews hadn't flown that mission, I would not be here today
-See Co-Pilot/Page 2A
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[[image: photo of Lt. Col. Fred Olivi]]
[[photo credit: Cathie Rowand/The Journal Gazette]]
[[caption: Lt. Col. Fred Olivi, a retired Air Force pilot who was [[strikethrough]] co- [/strikethrough]] ^[[3rd]] pilot of the B-29 bomber that dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan, signs commemorative stamps Wednesday in Fremont.]]

[[news article]]
- From Page 1A
day," said Edwin rogers of Syracuse.  "To you and those air crews, I say: 'Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.'"

Rogers was training in Missouri with a unit that would have been involved in a land invasion of Japan scheduled for November 1945. He said Olivi's message is something the United States should hear.

"So much is talked about how immoral we were, but it was a small price to pay to end the war."

And as for Olivi, who received a Distinguished Flying Cross for the mission, he currently is writing a book titled, "Decision at Nagasaki: The Mission That Almost Failed." It is due to be published in November.

He also makes time to visit the Bockscar in Dayton, Ohio, museum.

"Every time I go there, I pat the aircraft on the side and say, 'Good work. You brought us back safely.'"
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[[images: 7 (all but one) uncaptioned photos of airmen and public at meeting]]
^[[John North & Bill Jones interviews 8/4/91]]
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