LOS ANGELES – Richard Nelson, the radio operator of the U.S. bomber Enola Gay, which dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima during World War II, has died at a hospital near Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday. He was 77.
The newspaper said Nelson died Feb. 1 of complications from emphysema.
Nelson, a native of Idaho, was at age 20 the youngest crew member aboard the B-29 Superfortress when it dropped the atomic bomb on Aug. 6, 1945, according to the daily. His coded radio transmission about the mission’s success was conveyed to President Harry Truman.
After his discharge from the military, Nelson majored in business administration at the University of Southern California, became a salesman and retired in 1986, according to the paper.
In 1995, the year that marked the 50th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing, he told local media that he did not regret being part of the mission.
Nelson’s death now puts the surviving members of the Enola Gay at three.
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