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Nancy K. Nelson

Nancy Nelson is the widow of Richard "Dick" H. Nelson, who was the VHF radio operator on the Enola Gay on the Hiroshima atomic bombing mission.

Nelson grew up in Western Springs, IL, a suburb of Chicago. When the Hiroshima was bombed on August 6th, 1945, she was only thirteen years old and vacationing in northern Wisconsin with her family. In 1951, she left Western Springs to attend college at Michigan State University (MSU). During her summers back home, she would get together with Dick and eventually they started dating. 

After learning he was transferred from Chicago to Boston, Dick wanted to marry Nancy. Although she was hesitant because she was still in college, Nancy agreed to get marry, drop out of school and move to Boston with Dick. Later in the 1970s, the couple and their children moved to California.  

In her interview on the Voices of the Manhattan Project website, Nelson discusses how she met her husband after the war. She describes his experience training to be radar operator and in the 509th Composite Group. She recalls how he and other members of the missions felt about the atomic bombings.

Nelson also discusses her experiences going to 509th Composite Group reunions and her husband’s friendships with General Paul Tibbets and other members of the 509th including Tom Ferebee, Dutch Van Kirk, and others. She also describes her husband’s visit to Japan and other reunions and events where he shared his wartime experience.

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