It was the summer of 1977, about 1 A.M..
Recently divorced, I was still experimenting with medicating myself with alcohol.
Vic... fellow Viet Nam Vet... fellow Army Reserve helicopter pilot, and I had reached that point where conversation was no longer necessary. We sat on his deck overlooking his back yard listening to light rock music playing quietly, absorbing the warmth of the night as the stars provided just enough light to differentiate trees from lawn.
What was that?
Movement back there... a man slid from between the trees and walked directly toward us... a fairly big man.
But non threatening. Good thing too... we were in no shape to defend ourselves if someone was gonna be aggressive.
He came up the stairs and said, "You Vic?"
Vic extended his hand and said "That would be me."
"I'm George Marquardt. Sis said I should come and introduce myself to you."
Vic's demeanor changed instantly.
This was no ordinary George.
George Marquardt was also a pilot.
On August 6th, 1945, he Commanded "Necessary Evil",
a B-29 flying in loose formation with another B-29,
"The Enola Gay."
Marquardt's mission was to take photographs of Hiroshima after an experimental weapon was dropped from the Enola Gay.
Three days later, Marquardt was piloting the Enola Gay as an advance weather ship, and again to take pictures of the results of another experimental bomb drop, this time over Nagasaki.
To say I was stunned would be serious understatement. I was mellowed by alcohol and unable to comprehend that this shadow, on the suggestion of his sister, Vic's neighbor, had seen us on the deck and had gone out of his way to come over and meet us.
We made polite chatter for a few minutes, and he was gone.
I googled his name and found
George was the sort of guy you got comfortable with in short order. I wish there had been time to get to know him better.
It's an experience I'll never forget... a brush with history.