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Ferebee, Thomas Wilson

Date of birth:
November 9th, 1918 (Mocksville/North Carolina, United States)
Date of death:
March 16th, 2000 (Windermere/Florida, United States)
Service number:
American (1776 - present, Republic)


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Second World War (1939-1945)
393rd Bombardment Squadron, 509th Composite Group, U.S. Army Air Forces
Awarded on:
September 22nd, 1945
"For gallantry in action while engaged in aerial flight against the Japanese Empire on 6 August 1945. Major Ferebee was the Bombardier for a combat crew of the B-29 aircraft of the 393d Bombardment Squadron, 509th Composite Group, TWENTIETH Air Force, which flew from a base in the Marianas Islands to drop on the city of Hiroshima, Japan, the first atomic bomb to be used in warfare. Flying 1500 miles over open water to the coast of Japan, they manned their assigned positions and crossed the island of Shikoku and the Inland Sea. They constantly faced the danger of being hit by anti-aircraft fire, enemy fighters, or suffering mechanical or other failures which would intensify the risks of carrying this powerful missile. Throughout the mission the element of hazard from the unknown prevailed, for this was the first time that this bomb, much more destructive than any other in existence, had been dropped from an airplane. The effect it would have on the airplane and these crew members was only to be estimated. Shortly after 0900 they brought the plane in over the city, and at 0915 the bomb release was pressed. The bomb cleared, and fell toward the planned objective. They then headed from the area and, despite a minor effect from the detonation, returned safely to their home base. By their courage and skillful performance of duty achieved in outstanding fashion despite the dangers involved in accomplishment of this historic mission, these individuals distinguished themselves by extraordinary achievement and reflect great credit on themselves and the Army Air Forces."

Headquarters, 20th Air Force, General Orders No. 69
Silver Star Medal (SSM)
Awarded on:

Posthumously awarded
Air Force Longevity Service Award
Air Force Commendation Medal