DAYTON — In honor of the Doolittle Raiders, B-25 Mitchells will fly to the Museum of the United States Air Force Monday morning, April 17, and will be on static display for the day. Tuesday, Apri 18, the museum will hold a memorial for the Raiders and, weather permitting, a fly by of the B-25’s and two B-1 bombers.
When a devastating blow is delivered to the United States, men and women unfailingly raise to our defense and charge forward, always toward danger, that the rest of us might stay behind, safe. As told by Gen. Jimmy Doolittle, “There’s nothing stronger than the heart of the volunteer.”
April 18, 2017, marks the 75th anniversary of the Doolittle Raid, America’s response to the attack on Pearl Harbor. 80 volunteers stepped forward despite the warning that this mission could quite possibly be their last. Married men with families were dissuaded from joining, due to the potential danger. Eighty extraordinary men in 16 B-25 Mitchells trained exhaustively to launch from an aircraft carrier to deal a retaliatory blow to the Empire of Japan. Complications arose when a Japanese fishing boat discovered the USS Hornet’s position, forcing the men to launch early, far further out than planned, and with no armament to defend themselves against Japanese fighters that might chase them in. The crew were fully cognizant that chances were high they couldn’t land safely after the bombing raid. But yet no man turned away from the chance to avenge a direct attack on our homeland.
Though the raid did minimal damage it did deliver a crushing, embarrassing blow to the Empire that falsely believed its country to be protected by the gods. Additionally, it gave the U.S. a needed morale boost, proving we would rise out of the ashes of Pearl and never submit.
Out of the 80 Raiders, Dick Cole remains and will give a final salute to his comrades on the anniversary date of the raid.