Eugene DiSabatino (1922-2012) was a member of the Special Engineer Detachment at Los Alamos during the Manhattan Project. He also deployed to Tinian to help prepare the “Fat Man” plutonium bomb.
DiSabatino was born in Wilmington, Delaware on May 10, 1922. In the spring of 1943, he enlisted in the U.S. Army. Intending to become a civil engineer, he completed basic training by mid-summer and was subsequently sent back to school to complete his education. His plan was to finish studies related to sanitation engineering before shipping off to the European theater. After spending some time at MIT and NYU, however, DiSabatino was reassigned to Oak Ridge and then Los Alamos to begin work on a secretive project related to air bombings.
At Los Alamos, DiSabatino became involved with the training of Air Force personnel who would handle the atomic bombs. He surveyed military-owned land for bomb-testing purposes, and joined what was called the “Delivery Group.” As DiSabatino states in his memoir, this team was tasked with the construction and implementation of “the assembly plans, the loading in planes, the aiming of the bomb sight and the fusing in flight.”
After several months, DiSabatino was flown to Wendover, Utah where he trained the 509th Bombardment Squadron how to assemble, load, and drop a 10,000-pound bomb. There he became well acquainted with the men who would carry out the atomic bombings over Japan. As the time neared for the use of atomic weaponry, DiSabatino was sent to Tinian in the Mariana Islands. He and others wrote “notes to Tojo” on the bomb known as “Fat Man” before loading it onto Major Charles W. Sweeney’s plane, named “Bockscar,” and sending it off for use over the Japanese mainland. On August 9th, 1945, Bockscar dropped “Fat Man” on the city of Nagasaki.
While at Los Alamos, DiSabatino met Mary Clare Gannon. The two married in September 1945. After the war, the couple returned to his family owned business in Delaware, Ernest DiSabatino & Sons (EDIS), where he made his career. He eventually served as the company’s president and CEO.
Eugene DiSabatino passed away on July 4th, 2012 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Information contributed by Andy DiSabatino.