University Archives


Bockscar Weaponeer Ashworth Autographs Groves Memo FREDERICK L. ASHWORTH, Autograph Endorsement Signed, on copy of Leslie R. Groves, Typed Memorandum Signed, to Frederick L. Ashworth, February 29, 1948, Washington, D.C. Ashworth added to the bottom of the memo, “Frederick L. Ashworth / Commander US Navy / ‘Weaponeer’ – crew B-29 Bockscar / Nagasaki – 9 Aug. 1945.” 1 p., 8.5" x 11". Very good. In this retirement memorandum, Groves, the military director of the Manhattan Project, thanks Commander Frederick L. Ashworth for his service since 1944, especially as the commander of the Nagasaki bombing mission in August 1945. “I wish to express my appreciation for the part you played in our success. When I approved of your selection as the weaponeer for the Nagasaki bombing mission I did so with the confidence that you would ensure the success of that operation no matter what difficulties were encountered. My confidence was not misplaced despite the fact that the difficulties proved to be far greater than any of us had anticipating. Knowing today the extent of the actual problems with which you were faced I am certain that there are few officers who would have been as wise a choice for the assignment. Your good judgment, determination, and courage were of the utmost value in bringing complete success out of what came so close to being disastrous failure.” Frederick L. Ashworth (1912-2005) was the commander of the mission and weaponeer on Bockscar, the plane that dropped the atomic bomb “Fat Man” on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. Born in Massachusetts, Ashworth graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1933. After service on a battleship and aviator training, he volunteered in 1939 for additional study at Annapolis as an aviation ordnance engineer. He graduated in June 1942 and flew torpedo and mine-laying missions in the Solomon Islands. In June 1944, he returned to the United States, and in November was assigned to the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos. He flew to the Pacific in February 1945 to select a base for the 509th Composite Group, charged with delivering the atomic bombs. Ashworth selected Tinian. Ashworth remained in the navy after the war and retired in 1968 at the rank of vice admiral. This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses. WE PROVIDE IN-HOUSE SHIPPING WORLDWIDE.

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