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Frederick C. Bock (January 18, 1918 – August 25, 2000) was a World War II pilot who took part in the atomic bombing of Nagasaki in 1945.


Frederick C. Bock
Born(1918-01-18)January 18, 1918
Greenville, Michigan
DiedAugust 25, 2000(2000-08-25) (aged 82)
Scottsdale, Arizona
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branchArmy Air Force
Unit509th Composite Group
Battles/warsSecond World War
AwardsDistinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal
Spouse(s)Helen Lossman Bock
Other workResearch Scientist
Cloud over Nagasaki following the atomic blast

Bock attended the University of Chicago and went on to enroll in a graduate course in philosophy.[1]

Upon the entry of the United States into the Second World War Bock enlisted in the Army Air Force, becoming a pilot.[1]

Bock flew missions from India to China over the Himalayas, a route known as the hump. He also participated in air raids on Japan flown from China.[1]

Nagasaki Atomic Bomb RaidEdit

On the Nagasaki Raid Bock, he flew the B-29 bomber The Great Artiste, which was used for scientific measurements and photography of the effects caused by the nuclear weapon.[1]

A civilian observer was aboard The Great Artiste named William L. Laurence who was a science writer with the New York Times. His account of the mission was to be awarded the 1946 Pulitzer Prize.[1]

In his subsequent book Dawn Over Zero (Knopf 1946), Laurence describes the scene aboard the B-29;[1]

I watched Capt. Frederick C. Bock, the pilot of our ship, go through the intricate motions of lifting a B-29 off the ground and marveled at the quiet efficiency of this Michigan boy who had majored in philosophy at Chicago University... I talked to him on the ground and I was amazed at the transformation that had taken place. Man and machine had become one, a modern centaur.

— William L. Laurence, Dawn Over Zero (1946)

The bomber which actually dropped Fat Man was called Bockscar[2] as it was usually flown by Frederick Bock. The staff was swapped just before the raid and Major Charles Sweeney piloted Bockscar, which flew with The Great Artiste and another aircraft.

Post War CareerEdit

After the war Bock returned to Chicago where he earned his PhD in zoology with a specialisation in mathematical statistics and genetics.[1]

Working in Chicago based research laboratories Dr. Bock created algorithms for solving complex problems.[1]

Dr. Bock retired in 1986 from Baxter Travenol Laboratories. It was there he devised a mathematical model for peritoneal dialysis.[1]

A native of Greenville, Michigan, Bock died at his Arizona home in 2000, of cancer.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Saxon, Wolfgang (2000-08-29). "F. C. Bock, 82, Monitor of Nagasaki Bombing". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-04-28.
  2. ^ USAF Museum - Bockscar Story Archived 2007-11-17 at the Wayback Machine Fact Sheet
  3. ^