‘Doolittle Raiders’ Participate in Veterans Day Activities
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Nov. 11, 2006 Five former Army Air Corps members who were part of a famed World War II bombing mission traveled to the nation's capital to participate in many Veterans Day events, including wreath-laying ceremonies at the Air Force and Navy Memorials yesterday.
Retired Maj. Gen. David Jones and Philip Antoniello lay a wreath in honor of the USS Hornet at the Navy Memorial in Washington, Nov. 9. On April 18, 1942, the Doolittle Raiders, led by then Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle, became the first to bombard Japan following the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Doolittle Raiders have celebrated their victory for the past 64 years. Photo by Airman 1st Class Rusti Caraker, USAF
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Known as the "Doolittle Raiders," the surviving members of commander Lt. Col. James Doolittle's World War II raid over Japan also met with servicemembers at the Pentagon and Bolling Air Force Base here.
At the Navy Memorial, Doolittle Raiders met with former crewmembers of the Navy carrier USS Hornet, which launched the 16 Army Air Corps B-25s that carried the men across the Pacific and over Japan on April 18, 1942, four months after the Pearl Harbor attack. The Doolittle Raiders dropped their bombs on Japan, hitting targets in Tokyo, Yokohama, Kobe and Nagoya.
During a wreath-laying ceremony at the Air Force Memorial, Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne paid tribute to the Doolittle Raiders, saying "these magnificent (Air Force memorial) spires that soar upward call to mind the unlimited horizon of the human spirit, a spirit that dwelled in you as you pulled your B-25s off that USS Hornet in the Pacific on that historic day."
Though the bombing mission caused little damage in Japan, it had a huge impact on America's morale and changed the tone of the war. It set the United States and its allies on a course that would eventually lead to domination of the Pacific during World War II and the ultimate defeat of Japan in 1945.
Of the original 80 airmen who took part in the raid, 16 remain. They try to hold an annual reunion to pay tribute to their fellow Raiders who have died since the last time they met.
(From Air Force Print News.)