Replica of historic WWII atomic bomb to debut at Wendover air museum
Jun 21, 2023, 5:59 PM | Updated: 6:39 pm
WENDOVER, Utah — Inside a back room of an airplane hangar, at a place that already has a lot of history, is now a part of what the Historic Wendover Airfield is all about.
“This is something we’ve been dreaming about for quite a while,” Jim Petersen said with a big smile. He runs the Historic Wendover Airfield and Museum.
It’s where the crews who dropped the atomic bombs on Japan at the end of World War II trained.
“We are preserving this piece of history which was critically important to ending the war,” Petersen said. “To be able to show the public what actually went on here with the war efforts and how important Wendover was to it.”
The bomb is even painted in the same black and yellow colors as the original Fat Man.
“Anywhere there was a joint, they had to paint this tar kind of paint to keep it sealed so the sensor system would work properly,” Petersen said about the black-colored rings.
A California company made the replica, thanks to a donation from Jewel Lee Kenley, whose husband’s uncle was the fire chief in Wendover at the time this project was happening.
The cost of the replica was $18,000. Kenley donated more than half.
“We’ve been coming here for 60 years,” she said. “It was always just a fascinating thing to me. And the fact that so much history came out of Wendover Air Force Base is amazing.”
It is history many people feel should be preserved. With this addition, it has become more of a place where people can see and feel that history… instead of just read about it.
“Having the physical representation is going to make a whole lot of difference instead of just showing a drawing,” Petersen said.
The replica bomb can be seen by taking the museum’s tour.