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date: 09 August 2020

Ferebee, Thomaslocked

(09 November 1918–16 March 2000)
  • Paul T. Sayers


Ferebee, Thomas (09 November 1918–16 March 2000), U.S. Army Air Forces bombardier who released the first atomic bomb used in warfare, was born Thomas Wilson Ferebee just outside Mocksville, North Carolina, the son of William Flavious Ferebee, a farmer, and Zella Ward Ferebee. Their third child, he was born just two days before Germany signed the armistice effectively ending World War I. The parents raised tobacco, cotton, and corn with the help of the eleven children they would eventually have on their 150 acres near Winston-Salem. The Ferebees and their neighbors were skilled hunters and students of the natural wonders of Davie County, but in spite of the pride and joy that Ferebee derived from these activities, he was determined to escape from farming. Sports were an important diversion for him early on and formed the essence of his exit strategy. During the summers of his high school days Ferebee pitched or played outfield for mill teams, and during the school year he played baseball, football and basketball, and ran track. He essentially maintained this pattern at Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, North Carolina, but lamented that the price he paid for unending athletic activities was a very poor education. In 1939, one year before he graduated, he tried out for the St. Louis Cardinals in Albany, Georgia. Told that he needed more experience, he returned to school to take his degree. He journeyed to Charlotte to join the U.S. Army Air Corps (later, the U.S. Army Air Forces) in 1940....

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