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Senate endorses housing the Enola Gay at Wendover

The Utah Senate has unanimously endorsed a resolution to house the Enola Gay atomic bomber at Wendover, even though the bill's sponsor admits the B-29 Superfortress will likely never land in Utah.

Senate Minority Whip George Mantes, D-Tooele, said a sister resolution has been passed by the Nevada Legislature.The crews of the 509th Bombardment Group, led by Gen. Paul Tibbetts, trained for the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at Wendover in the waning months of World War II.

The Enola Gay dropped the bomb on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945. Three days later, a second atomic weapon was dropped on Nagasaki. Japan offered its unconditional surrender on Aug. 15.

"We would like it returned to its rightful home," said Mantes, who said the plane currently is in mothballs in a hanger at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington. The plane has been donated to the Smithsonian Institution.

It was to be restored and displayed on the 50th anniversary of the bombing, but controversy over the necessity of the atomic attack, which killed more than 90,000 people, kept the plane where it was.