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Enola Gay navigator to visit Candler Field

He held the compass that led the world into the nuclear age as the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Capt. Theodore ‘Dutch’ Van Kirk, navigator and sole surviving crewman of the Enola Gay, will be in Pike County at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 23 at the Candler Field Museum Library in Williamson. The 91-year-old World War II veteran will discuss and sign copies of the new book My True Course: Dutch Van Kirk: Northumberland to Hiroshima by Suzanne Dietz. The book follows his journey to Hiroshima. My True Course uses Van Kirk’s personal correspondence, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, military orders, presidential speeches and interviews from family members and others from the ‘greatest generation’ to tell the story of Dutch’s journey from his hometown of Northumberland, Penn., to the Pacific Theater. Van Kirk navigated 58 missions during the early B-17 heavy bombing raids into Europe and North Africa, ultimately charting Special Mission No. 13, when the Boeing Silverplate B-29 dropped the atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945. Van Kirk will give a brief presentation then sign copies of the book which was released in 2012. A limited number of books will be available for $40 during the book signing.

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