Frederick C. Bock

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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

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.

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 Raid[edit]

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 Career[edit]

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. ^