Local News

Asheboro vet snapped iconic WWII photo

Posted August 26, 2010 5:00 p.m. EDT
Updated August 27, 2010 7:13 a.m. EDT

— 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.