Keesler honors World War II hero

Today, Keesler Air Force Base welcomed a special guest of honor whose family has served our country for generations and even made global history, changing the course of world events.

News 25’s Toni Miles takes us to Biloxi where Brigadier General Paul Tibbets IV was on hand for a room dedication honoring his grandfather, a World War II hero.

Brigadier General Paul Tibbets IV said, “I will never forget him telling me this story about trying to convince his mom to go fly in this airplane. Think about a 12-year-old kid who says ‘I want to go fly with this guy.’”

That 12-year-old kid would grow up to be a decorated American pilot who flew the aircraft named after his mother, The Enola Gay, which would drop Little Boy, the first atomic bomb used in warfare ultimately leading to the end of World War II and preserving the people and homeland of the country Paul Tibbets Jr. served as a United States Air Force pilot.  “My grandfather wanted me to make sure that ‘hey, people will know you because of me.’ They’ll know your name, Paul Tibbets. They’re going to know it because of his significant play in our history. You just do your thing and everything will be fine.”

Now a brigadier general himself, Paul Tibbets IV oversees a command at Barksdale Air Force in Louisiana that organizes, trains, equips, and maintains combat-ready forces. On Friday, General Tibbets was on hand to receive a plaque from Keesler’s 334th Training Squadron. In turn, the general lifted the spirits and aspirations of these Biloxi airmen, sharing humor and family stories. “This is what inspires our air men. They have to study history, but when they look at heritage, they get inspired by those great heroes that came before them and they go ‘you know what, I want to be like that.’”

That legacy continues to live on. On Friday, Keesler Air Force Base held a special room dedication ceremony as this training simulation center was named in Brigadier General Paul Tibbets Jr’s namesake. “He would have been very touched, what he would say is ‘thank you for the recognition, but it’s really about our airmen.”

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