Two weeks ago, Edward Symanowicz celebrated his 90th birthday on September 2nd. This celebration was a little bit different than the time he turned 20. It was 1945, and the day marked the official end to World War II. He believes he was on a B-29 Superfortress flying over the remains of Tokyo. This was just one of the planes in the flying fleet that flew over the U.S.S. Missouri as Japan waved the white flag. As you may recall, President Harry Truman designated this day as Victory Day or V-D for short.
Although Symanowicz doesn’t remember specific details from that day, the feeling he felt has stuck with him for seventy years later. “It was great. We won the war,” he replied in a recent interview. He felt straight relief and elation.
After graduating high school in Reading, Pennsylvania, he enlisted into the army like many boys his age did. He was soon assigned to the b-29 Superfortress in the Army Air Corps., and relocated to Tinian, which became the location of the atomic bomb operations. He was propelled into the intricate heart of America’s plan to the end the war. What if any of the men had known what they were about to be a part of?
Edward remembers, “The A-bomb was too big to be loaded like an ordinary bomb. They had to put the bomb in a pit so it could fit under the plane.”
He flew 32 mission flights that he documented, and there might have been more that were not documented. The dates, length of time, what he recalled seeing from the air were all recorded in these documents. One gives an account of his bird-eye view of the U.S.’s invasion of Iwo Jima as the planes flew and dropped landmines.
An excerpt from his last recording went as follows, “Our course took us right over Tokyo and Yokohama, so we got a good view of the damage that was done by our bombing strikes. It sure felt good flying over those places without having to worry about flak or fighter planes.”
This year he celebrated his birthday a bit lighter at his daughter’s house, but the poignancy of his historical accomplishment remains deep in his soul.
Info courtesy of Reading Eagle