Today marks 71 years since the Doolittle Raid on Japan conducted by Lt. Col. James H. “Jimmy” Doolittle and 79 other volunteers. The Doolittle Raiders launched B-25 Mitchell bombers from the deck of the USS Hornet (CV 8) and took the offensive against Japan. The Doolittle Raid of April 18, 1942, caused only minor damage to the Japanese war effort, but its psychological effects were much more significant. It gave the United States a much needed boost after a string of defeats and showed the Japanese that America had the will to fight back. On Tuesday, three of the four surviving Doolittle Raiders gathered in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. for their final public reunion.
The Doolittle Raid l Photos
Map showing Doolittle Raid targets and landing fields. B-25B Mitchell bombers tied down on the flight deck of USS Hornet (CV 8), while the carrier was en route to the Doolittle Raid's launching point. The plane in the center (second from the camera) is tail # 40-2283. It was mission plane # 5, piloted by Captain David M. Jones, which attacked targets in the Tokyo area. National Archives photo Orders in hand, U.S. Navy Capt. Marc A. Mitscher, skipper of the USS Hornet (CV 8) chats with Lt. Col. James Doolittle, leader of the Army Air Forces attack group. This group of fliers carried the battle of the Pacific to the heart of the Japanese empire with a daring raid on military targets in major Japanese cities. It was the result of coordination between the two services. The USS Hornet carried the 16 B-25 bombers to within take-off distances of the Japanese Islands. U.S.Navy photo Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle accepts a medal from the skipper of the USS Hornet (CV 8), Capt. Marc A. Mitscher. The medal, once given to a U.S. Navy officer by the Japanese, was wired to a 500-pound bomb for return to Japan "with interest." U.S. Air Force photo Aircrew preparing .50 caliber machine gun ammunition on the flight deck of USS Hornet (CV 8), while the carrier was steaming toward the mission's launching point. Three of the B-25B bombers are visible. National Archives photo The aircraft carrier Hornet (CV 8) carried 16 B-25 Mitchells on deck, ready for the Doolittle Raid. U.S. Air Force photo An Army Air Forces B-25B bombers awaits the takeoff signal on the flight deck of USS Hornet (CV 8), as the raid is launched, April 18, 1942. Note the flight deck officer holding launch flag at right, and white stripes painted on the flight deck to guide the pilot's alignment of his plane's nose and port side wheels. National Archives photo A B-25B Mitchell bomber, one of the sixteen involved in the Doolittle Raid, takes off from the flight deck of the USS Hornet (CV 12) bound for the Japanese homeland, April 18, 1942. U.S. Air Force photo The USS Hornet (CV 8) launches B-25B bombers, at the start of the first U.S. air raid on the Japanese home islands, April 18, 1942. National Archives photo Taken from the deck of the USS Hornet (CV 8), a B-25 bomber makes its way to be part of the first U.S. air raid on Japan. U.S. Navy photo The view from below a B-25B Mitchell of the Doolittle Raid as it passes over USS Hornet (CV 8) on the way to Japan. U.S. Navy photo Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle, (center) with members of his flight crew and Chinese officials in China after the April 18, 1942 Doolittle Raid. Those present are (from left to right): Staff Sgt. Fred A. Braemer, Bombardier; Staff Sgt. Paul J. Leonard, Flight Engineer/Gunner; Gen. Ho, director of the Branch Government of Western Chekiang Province; Lt. Richard E. Cole, Copilot; Lt. Col. Doolittle, pilot and mission commander; Henry H. Shen, bank manager; Lt. Henry A. Potter, Navigator; Chao Foo Ki, secretary of the Western Chekiang Province Branch Government. National Archives photo Tung-Sheng Liu (third from right in white jacket) stands with the crew of Lt. Travis Hoover's B-25. He helped these men escape capture following the Doolittle Raid. He later immigrated to the United States and was one of four individuals names as honorary Doolittle Raiders. U.S. Air Force photo Lt. Robert L. Hite, blindfolded by his captors, is led from a Japanese transport plane after he and the other seven flyers were flown from Shanghai to Tokyo. After about 45 days in Japan, all eight were taken back to China by ship and imprisoned in Shanghai. U.S. Air Force photo The Doolittle Raider goblets on display in the World War II Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. Every year the surviving Doolittle Raiders conduct a ceremony that honors all who participated in the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo during World War II. The downturned goblets represent aircrew members who have not survived. During the ceremony the name of every person is read and an attending Doolittle Raider responds to indicate the spirit of those who have passed are present. The Doolittle Raiders will conduct their last goblet ceremony this year. U.S. Air Force photo