Tibbets flew in the first American B-17 Flying Fortress raid against occupied Europe and led the first heavy bombardment mission in support of the invasion of North Africa. Completing 25 combat missions in Europe, he was selected for early flight test work on the B-29 Superfortress for Boeing and the USAAF Air Materiel Command.
After an assignment as Director of the first B-29 transition school, he was given a B-29 unit at Wendover Army Air Base, Utah, to train for the first atomic bombing mission.
The 509th Composite Group's efforts from the beginning to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki became legend and contributed to an early conclusion to World War II.
After retirement Tibbets became a founder and president of the first major jet charter business in the United States. His military decorations include the Distinguished Service Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart, Air Medal, and several service awards.