training two groups at a time in November 1942, and during 1943 and
1944 fourteen groups completed the course. Training included exercises
in high-altitude formation flying, long-range navigation, target identification,
and simulated combat missions.
ended in April 1944 when a P-47 fighter aircraft pilot training began
and 60 trainees arrived from Louisiana. The program ended in September
after three groups, 180 men, had entered training.
In 1942 President
Franklin D. Roosevelt established the "Manhattan Engineer District"
for the purpose of developing an atomic bomb. By 1944 development of
the bomb was under way and the B-29 bomber was selected to deliver the
weapon. General Henry "Hap" Arnold, Commander Army Air Forces, named
Colonel Paul W. Tibbets, Jr. to head the select team. Only Tibbets knew
the mission of the 509th Composite Group, and he chose Wendover Field,
Utah, for training because of its isolation and the need for security.