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Meet the navigator of the Hiroshima bombing

The public is invited to meet the Navigator on the famous Hiroshima Bombing Mission on Saturday, Feb. 23 at Candler Field Museum in Williamson GA.

Dutch Van Kirk, 90, will be signing the book he authored, “My True Course” at 11:00 am. Candler Field is located on Hwy 362 in Williamson GA, six miles west of Griffin. More information is available at or phone 770-467-9490.

“You can buy this book on Amazon,” explains Ron Alexander, director at Candler Field Museum, “ but to actually meet him in person is a once in a lifetime opportunity. We are very pleased to be able to bring this moment in aviation history to the museum.”

The flight to Hiroshima was made on August 6th, 1945. It was the first time the Americans dropped the atomic bomb devasting the Japanese city. History credits the bombing mission with bringing an end to World War II .

Van Kirk is the last surviving member of the crew that flew the Enola Gay during the Hiroshima mission.

Candler Field in Williamson is an active airport. The airport has a grass landing strip that attracts vintage aircraft. The airport is building hangars that replicate the Atlanta Airport as it was in the 1920s. The Museum is a non -profit organization supported by memberships and donations. Admission to the museum is free.

Watching the old planes land and take off on Saturdays makes Barnstormers Grill, the museum’s restaurant, a favorite eating spot for locals.

“Saturdays are our most active days,” explains restaurant manager,Trudy Gill. “We start breakfast at 8 a.m. so our customers can watch the pilots coming in.” The moderately priced menu includes a full salad bar, beer and wine, and fresh baked pies.

Flight training at Candler Field has been recognized by aviation magazines as one of the most affordable professional training programs in the country.



I do not understand why this little gem of a story is hidden in with the weddings, deaths and birth notices, oh Citizen editors. I just found it and sure do wish I had seen it earlier.

I've said it before. What a piece of history this place is. And Dutch Van Kirk? Man, talk about history. How fascinating to meet someone we grew up reading about who was a part of one of the biggest events in military history. Why can't we have (nick)names like Dutch anymore? This is worth the trip. Even without Dutch, it is worth the trip. Meet Ron Alexander while you are there, too, if he is around. He is great guy.

Look at what is coming there (on the website link above) in March, too. Maybe Mother Nature will have turned off the spigot by then. If you have nothing to do in this dreary weather, the 23 mile trip is worth it just for a piece of their pie or cake.

Thanks for the news, Cal and staff.

i had planned to go. if you havent already catch a meal at the restaurant (barnstomers is the name i think), soups are always the best. sweet little town too, with nice folks. we usually try to go every month or so.

Seems some things are just too quirky funny in this world. You just have to roll with the punches and have a sense of humor. The announcement made at 12:15Pm today at the museum was that good old Dutch had gotten lost on his way from Griffin (where he apparently lives?) and was running late (for his 11AM book signing). He would be there in about a half hour or so. Needless to say, cheers went up from the waiting crowd.

The irony is he could navigate an A bomb and crew to Hiroshima, but just couldn't navigate the roads in rural Georgia. Now, given there is a 67 year time difference, I give him a pass. Or a GPS. Or both.

In the meantime, our most excellent waitress in the Barnstormer Grille there spilled the beans on the goings on yesterday. Seems Ron Alexander took his DC 3 from the Aerodrome there up to Falcon Field (aka Atlanta Regional Airport) and then on to Fulton County Airport (aka Charlie Brown Field) to do some movie shots with his passengers, none other than Susan Sarandon, Kevin Kline and Dakota Fanning for their movie, "The Last Robin Hood" that started filming a few weeks ago about the end of the life of Errol Flynn (Kline), his mother (Sarandon) and Fanning (his teen girlfriend).

Here is a little about Ron for those who don't know who he is.

Oh, and none other than Harrison Ford has been in there at least 3 times since last summer (while he was filming the movie "42" about Jackie Robinson). Our most excellent waitress told us that one time he sat in the same window booth that we were in. Fact or fiction, it sure is refreshing to talk about things other than the weather and politics when you go out. You might not be hearing from me for a while, if my link above puts me into cyber oblivion.

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