National Air and Space Museum Archives

509th Composite Group Aircraft Photography

Collection ID:
Physical Description:
0.01 Cubic feet
8 photographs
This collection consists of eight photographs of United States military aircraft taken sometime during 1945, probably at one of the US Army Air Forces fields on Tinian, in the Mariana Islands.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The collection includes four photographs of Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber aircraft assigned to the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) 509th Composite Group: "Enola Gay" (which dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan), "Bockscar" (which dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan), and "The Great Artiste" (which flew as on observation aircraft on both atomic missions). Also included are photographs showing the aircraft nose art on two US Navy Consolidated PB4Y Liberators ("Lady Luck" and "Impatient Virgin") and views of two USAAF fighters (North American P-51 "Snortin Phyllie" and the burnt-out remains of a crashed Republic P-47 Thunderbolt). All photographs are believed to have been taken on Tinian in the Mariana Islands sometime during 1945, most likely at North Field.

The original photographs were copied in 1988 and assigned Smithsonian Institution negative numbers 88-547 through 88-554; images are presented online in negative number order. Original prints are stored by subject in the National Air and Space Museum Technical Reference Files, NASM.XXXX.1183.

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
In 1944, donor Ed Mahaffey was sent to Tinian, Mariana Islands, with the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) 77th Air Services Group as ground support for the Twentieth Air Force's Boeing B-29 Superfortress Program. The eight photographs in this collection (taken sometime in 1945) were sent to Mahaffey after his return to the U.S. in January 1946 by a friend in the 77th Air Services Group.

Melissa A. N. Keiser
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Ed Mahaffey, gift, 1988, NASM.1988.0027
Processing Information
Arranged, described and encoded by Melissa A. N. Keiser, 2022.

Digital Content
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Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Use
Material is subject to Smithsonian Terms of Use. Should you wish to use NASM material in any medium, please submit an Application for Permission to Reproduce NASM Material, available at Permissions Requests.
Conditions Governing Access
No restrictions on access
Preferred Citation
509th Composite Group Aircraft Photography, Acc. NASM.1988.0027, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Aeronautics Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Aeronautics, Military Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
World War, 1939-1945 Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
National Air and Space Museum Archives
14390 Air & Space Museum Parkway
Chantilly, VA 20151