Ferebee was born on a Davie County farm near Mocksville. After college he joined the Army Air Force before World War II began and trained as a bombardier. He flew over 60 missions over Europe and earned a reputation as one of the best bombardiers in the Air Force. He also made two friends who would be important to him later in the war--Paul Tibbets, a talented pilot, and Theodore van Kirk, a skilled navigator. In 1944 he was ordered back to the US by special request of Colonel Tibbets. On August 6, 1945, with Tibbets flying the Enola Gay, bombardier Thomas Ferebee dropped the first atomic bomb ever used in wartime on the Japanese city of Hiroshima.