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William Sterling Parsons
Rear Admiral, United States Navy
Illinois State Flag
Rear Admiral William Sterling "Deak" Parsons (November 26, 1901 - December 5, 1953) was an American military engineer, best known for being the weaponeer on the Enola Gay (at the time, he had the rank of Captain) which dropped the first atomic bomb on the Hiroshima, Japan during World War II.

WA Parsons PHOTO

He bridged the gap between pure science and engineering, between laboratory research and military application of that research. He played a key role in the design and deployment of the proximity fuze, and helped to research, develop, assemble, and finally drop the atomic bomb. Parsons crawled into the Arctic-cold bomb bay of the Enola Gay to arm the bomb. After World War II he became the US Navy's leading figure on nuclear issues.

The "Rear Admiral William S. Parsons Award for Scientific and Technical Progress" was established by the US Navy in his name.

Rear Admiral Parsons was one of the early Navy men with expertise in the new atomic weapons. He served as Officer in Charge of Project Alberta and Deputy Task Force Commander for the Technical Direction of Operation Crossroads. He is shown [1] [2] in a series of watercolor paintings related to Operation Crossroads.

He died of a heart attack at age 52 and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.


William Sterling Parsons was a 1922 graduate of the United States Naval Academy, Parsons assembled in flight the trigger of atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. "If anything happens, then we will lose only the plane, the crew, and the bomb," he explained.

After war he worked in ordnance and with atomic and other special weapons, taking part in atomic bomb test on Bikini Atoll in Marshall Islands.

He was awarded a Distinguished Service Medal and an Army Silver Star for the assembly of the Hiroshima bomb trigger.

Born at Chicago, Illinouis, Nov 26, 1901, he was commissioned an Ensign in the United States Navy in 1922 and advanced through the grades to Rear Admiral in 1946.

He made his home at 6215 33rd Street, NW, Washington, D.C. He died in Washington on December 5, 1953 and was buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery.



Silver Star Medal Award


PARSONS, WILLIAM S
RA ADM U S N
DATE OF BIRTH: 11/26/1901
DATE OF DEATH: 12/05/1953
BURIED AT: SECTION 3  SITE 2167
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY

PARSONS, HANNAH D/O WILLIAMS S
DATE OF DEATH: 04/29/1935
BURIED AT: SECTION SOUTH  SITE 2167
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
DAUGHTER OF WS PARSONS, LT USN


Added: 13 September 1999  Updated: 30 August 2005 Updated: 14 January 2007
US Naval Academy SEAL
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

     Distinguished Service Medal
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

     Silver Star Medal