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  • Raiders Reunion

    Posted by David Foster on April 18th, 2012 (All posts by )

    The 70th anniversary of the Doolittle Toyko raid is being marked at the National Museum of the USAF near Dayton, OH. Four of the original raiders will be present.

    Video here.


    12 Responses to “Raiders Reunion”

    1. Bill Brandt Says:

      Sad that so few are left, now. The raid so shocked the Japanese that I believe it was the impetus for their wanting to attack Midway which of course made them defensive in the pacific for the rest of the war. Took some cojones to take a B25 off an aircraft carrier. I remember seeing a video and so many once off the deck sunk below the deck making you winder if they were going to make it.

      Interesting to me as I write this but it was similar in scope to Churchill’s initial raid on Berlin after the Luftwaffe mistakenly bombed London – both raids were relatively miniscule in scope but had profound consequences – the later changing the Nazis focus on London from RAF airfields and the former – attacking Midway.

      Here’s an interesting web site – – only 5 survivors left now…

    2. Michael Kennedy Says:

      The movies taken of the B25s taking off from Hornet are heart stopping.

    3. Sgt. Mom Says:

      One of the last survivors lives in the Air Force Village here in San Antonio. Agree with Michael – the movies taken of the take-off are just nail-biting.
      You wonder why Michael Bay just couldn’t have broken up his Pearl Harbor movie, and just done a straight Doolittle Raid movie, instead of trying to mash it all together with the Battle of Britain into one big mess.

    4. Bill Brandt Says:

      I might add a number of them met some cruel fates by the Japanese when they crash landed in China – some were executed by beheading.

      It was a very gutsy mission made all the more dangerous when they spotted the Japanese fishing trawler and had to launch 100s of miles further than their planned site – making landing “as best you can where you can”

    5. David Foster Says:

      The USAF museum event also includes some Chinese people representing the villagers who assisted the raiders once they were on the ground:

    6. Bill Brandt Says:

      whoops – sorry David – just realized that I linked to the same site you did!

      Google is amazing – our car club is going on a trip to Filoli ( then to Bucks of Woodside ( where 2 guys name Larry and Sergei , unable to sell their program, decided over lunch to start their own company – the name of which (among this tech-savvy group) goes without saying ;-)

      Bucks is a fascinating place – the trivia along the walls alone is worth the visit.

    7. David Foster Says:

      A piece on the naval officers who did the planning for the raid. Link.

      (via The Lexicans)

    8. Robert Schwartz Says:

      If you have not been to the USAF Museum — Go. It is close to the intersection of 2 major highways (I70 & I75). And the collection will knock your socks off. Have you ever even seen a picture of the B70?

    9. Bill Brandt Says:

      Robert – I consider the Smithsonian Air & Space – and the Dulles Annex – to be the Mecca of Aerospace Museums – followed by the USAF Museum – I have to get to Dayton sooner or later.

      Quite a story on the B70 – the crash – all promoting GE engines – all over a photo shoot.

    10. Michael Kennedy Says:

      ” Have you ever even seen a picture of the B70?” My father-in-law, who worked for Hughes Aircraft, once walked up the air intake to a B70 engine. He didn’t have to bend over.

      I think the story is true that some of the raiders were rescued by Mao Tse Tung and Chao en Lai. There are photos with them and a couple of the raiders.

    11. T.K. Tortch Says:

      I knew one of the Doolittle Raiders when I was a kid,Nolan Herndon.

      I knew he was with the raiders but didn’t know much more than that until he died. Then I discovered his plane had landed in Soviet Russian territory, they got interned for over a year, and then ended up bribing somebody to smuggle them via Afghanistan to Iran and then home via the British. I was even more surprised to find out that he believed his plane had been tasked with a secret mission, known only to the pilots, intended to have them land in Russian territory. Details at the link.

      There were a ton of WWII vets in my home town, and a outsized proportion of them were either Navy or Marines, and a high proportion of those had been involved in Navy or Marine air operations. Virtually all the Army vets I knew were Army Air Corps, like Mr. Herndon. Almost all the home town vets I knew were veterans of the Pacific Theater. Only vet I knew well who served in the ET was my Grandfather’s next-door-neighbor, an infantry sergeant who fought in North Africa and Italy. And he lived in a different town!!

    12. Bill Brandt Says:

      T.K. What a book you could have written! With so many dying now think of all the stories going with them.