The Last Enola Gay Crew Member in Western New York

November 19, 2012 Updated Nov 19, 2012 at 9:46 PM EDT

By WKBW Admin

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November 19, 2012 Updated Nov 19, 2012 at 9:46 PM EDT

Theodore "Dutch" Van Kirk will be 92 years old soon. He is the last surviving member of the twelve man crew of the Enola Gay and he came to Lewiston last week to attend a Veterans Day dinner at Lew-Port High School. Van Kirk was the navigator on the flight that dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima Japan, in August of 1945. Van Kirk travels the country and gives talks on that famous mission. He is also the subject of a new book written by Lewiston author Suzanne Simon Dietz. "My True Course, Dutch Van Kirk Northumberland to Hiroshima". Van Kirk says his mission ended the war, another bomb was dropped three days later and Japan surrendered. Although tragic that some 220,000 Japanese died from the two bombs, Van Kirk says most historians agree, that the missions helped to save countless American lives by shortening the conflict and avoiding the need to invade Japan.