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Asheboro vet snapped iconic WWII photo

Posted August 26, 2010
Updated August 27, 2010

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— Asheboro native John McGlohon remembers snapping a photo as an atom bomb exploded over Hiroshima in 1945. Aboard a B-29 bomber, McGlohon and his crew flew right over it.

“My only vision was through a 12-inch glass down under my viewfinder,” he said.

McGlohon’s crew did not get the message to stay away from the area that day.

“As we approached the city of Hiroshima, one of the blister gunners said someone is headed for Iwo (Jima),” he said.

That someone was the Enola Gay, racing back from dropping the bomb.

“It seemed like seconds after that … there was a very brilliant flash under the airplane, like a flash bulb in your face,” McGlohon said. “The gunners and blister pilots were almost blinded by it.”

McGlohon snapped some photos then dropped off his film for processing.

“When we got to the lab, the Marine guards were at the door, which was unusual,” he said.

McGlohon’s pictures have always been labeled as coming from the plane assigned to photograph the mission, which he said was impossible because that crew was 50 miles away.

“Those were the pics that came from the crew with the Enola Gay,” he said.

After hearing McGlohon’s story, a local man spoke  to the two other surviving members of the flight. The man also tracked down flight records, in an effort to help McGlohon get credit for his work.

“My flight log shows I flew 15 hours, 20 minutes that day,” McGlohon said.

McGlohon said he doesn’t need credit for his photos; he is just happy to be a veteran and tell his story.

With fewer veterans out there to tell their stories, McGlohon said he hopes all World War II veterans can take a Flight of Honor to see the WWII memorial in Washington D.C. Last year, McGlohon took the trip, which is courtesy of the non-profit program.

WRAL is partnering with the Flight of Honor program for the Triangle Flight of Honor.

The Triangle Flight of Honor will bring veterans in groups of 100 on a chartered flight to the memorial.

For more information on how to apply for the flight or donate, go to the Triangle Flight of Honor page.


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  • sarahsoandso Aug 27, 2010

    Imagine if today atomic bombs were dropped on Raleigh and Charlotte. How many of those casualties do you think would happen to be members of the armed forces? Some? Yea. Some. But not many, pal.

  • sunneyone Aug 27, 2010

    No, the bombs are not our finest hour, but we can't blame the men and women out on the lines. This guy deserves the credit, because it's just like bureaucracy to steal someone's work and call it their own after the fact. I'm sure he's not proud of the bombs going off, but what he did was something we needed. We need to see what the bombs did to that country. So that we don't forget the destruction.

    He and all the other WWII Vets need to be interviewed extensively. When they're gone, we've lost that first person history forever.

  • Iworkforaliving Aug 27, 2010

    civilians were not the only ones killed in that attack you atheist wacko.

  • robman Aug 27, 2010

    so i guess you guys who don't support the dropping of the abomb can justify the hundreds of thousands of american lives that would have been lost in a Japanese invasion?

  • sarahsoandso Aug 27, 2010

    risteveh, you're correct. That is what happens in war. I'm simply pointing out the idiocy of someone applauding the fact that American and European lives were saved... as a direct result of 225,000 Japanese being killed.
    The human race is whack.

  • drjones74 Aug 27, 2010

    Ginger, please do some research first....Germany was surrendered on May 8, 1945...nearly 3 months before the A-Bomb was dropped. German was out of the linguistic mix at that point....
    You cannot ever justify the death of 200,000 civilians. You god fearing wackos.

  • risteveh Aug 27, 2010

    Sarahsoandso, that's what happens in war, people get killed, soldiers and civilians, think about how many civilians were killed night after night by the Germans as they bombed London. Oh and by the way, the world is not a utopia, there are people out there to this day that want to do bad things to this country.

  • sarahsoandso Aug 27, 2010


    CIVILIANS, you bloody idiots. We killed 225,000 CIVILIANS. Men, women, children, infants.
    The attack on Pearl Harbor is not to be taken lightly. It was a dastardly deed. But the Japanese attacked a MILITARY BASE. It was a strike against our armed forces, not our civilians.

    Oh! Yes! Just THINK of all the American and European lives we saved! Lives saved by... taking 225,000 other lives?

    You people are sick.

  • wrench11 Aug 27, 2010

    I for one am deeply grateful for all that my previous members of the military did for our country and I thank God every day that I live in a free country. speedhandle2

  • gingerlynn Aug 27, 2010

    Dumpbin, those bombs ended the war and saved many American and European lives. Without them we would likely be speaking Japanese or German right now.