Missouri

Grandson of Enola Gay pilot retiring amid allegations of misconduct at Whiteman AFB

A former commander at Whiteman Air Force Base is being forced to retire after an investigation into a variety of allegations that included failing four times to report suicide attempts within the ranks.

The Air Force Times reports that Brig. Gen. Paul Tibbets IV, whose grandfather piloted the first atomic-bomb mission over Japan in 1945, will stop working Oct. 19, take accrued leave and retire Dec. 1 for “substantiated” misconduct during his command of the 509th Bomb Wing near Knob Noster, Mo.

Tibbets IV headed the base from June 2015 to July 2017.

Accusations supported by an inspector general’s probe, the Times said, ranged from “inappropriate comments about women on two occasions” to failure to report attempted suicides and not reporting “the value of autographed photographs given to him by celebrities.“

Tibbets IV, 51, also was found to have violated policy on use of a government vehicle.

Neither the Air Force nor public affairs staff at Whiteman immediately responded Monday to a reporter’s inquiries. An officer with the Global Strike Command at Barksdale Air Force Base, where Tibbets IV has been stationed this year, also did not respond to requests for further information about his alleged misconduct.

In a 2015 interview with The Star, Tibbets IV spoke of “the lives that were saved” in World War II because of his late grandfather Paul Tibbets, Jr., leading the bombing run of the aircraft Enola Gay above Hiroshima, Japan.

“If he were here, he’d tell you ‘I never lost one night’s sleep after that mission,’” Tibbets IV said days before the 70th anniversary of the flight.

The then-newly installed commander of the world’s only fleet of B-2 Spirit stealth bombers also recalled his grandfather telling him to be his own airman and “don’t live in my shadow.”

As many as 126,000 civilians in Hiroshima died in an attack that sped the end of the war.

Since leaving Whiteman, Tibbets IV was named deputy commander of Air Force Global Strike Command at Barksdale in Louisiana. Rumors of disciplinary action to be taken against him surfaced in social media in September.

The Air Force said in a Sept. 27 release that a former head of Global Strike Command, now-retired Gen. Robin Hood, issued Tibbets IV a “letter of admonishment” that included the withholding of an expected promotion to major general and terms of his retirement.

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