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Doolittle's Raiders recall daring WW II mission
Japan Today ^ | May. 07, 2012 - 04:08AM JST

Posted on 05/06/2012 8:44:33 PM PDT by DeaconBenjamin

Three of Doolittle’s Raiders who helped boost American morale during the early days of World War II recalled the dangers of their bold bombing attack on the Japanese mainland.

Airman Edward Saylor didn’t expect to come back alive when his B-25 set off on the 1942 mission.

“Some of the group thought they’d make it,” Saylor said Saturday. “But the odds were so bad.”

Saylor and the other 79 Doolittle’s Raiders were forced to take off in rainy, windy conditions significantly further from Japan than planned, straining their fuel capacity. None of the 16 planes’ pilots had ever taken off from an aircraft carrier before.

Saylor and two other raiders, Maj Thomas Griffin and Staff Sgt David Thatcher—all in their 90s now—recalled their daring mission and its leader, Lt Col Jimmy Doolittle, at a commemoration Saturday aboard the USS Hornet in Alameda, across the bay from San Francisco.

Their mission has been credited with boosting American spirits at a critical time, less than five months after the devastating Japanese attack on the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor and with Japan sweeping through the Pacific. The bombing inflicted only scattered damage, but lifted spirits at home while shaking Japan’s confidence.

But it did not come without a price.

Three raiders were killed while trying to land in China. Eight were captured by the Japanese, of whom three were executed and a fourth died of disease in prison.

The Japanese also killed Chinese villagers suspected of helping many of the airmen escape.

Griffin recalled ditching his plane when it ran out of fuel after the raid and parachuting to the ground in darkness.

“I got out of my airplane by jumping real fast,” he said. “It was a long, strange journey to the land down below.”

Griffin landed in a tree and clung to it until daybreak.

Saturday’s event was held in conjunction with the 70th anniversary of the raiders’ April 18, 1942 mission. It also included: Doolittle’s granddaughter, Jonna Doolittle Hoppes; two seamen aboard the carrier the raiders left from, the USS Hornet CV-8, Lt Cmdr Richard Nowatzki and Lt J.G. Oral Moore; and a Chinese official who as a teenager helped rescue the raiders, Lt Col Chu Chen.

The American airmen remembered Doolittle as a great planner who knew his aircraft and fought alongside them.

Hoppes said her grandfather, who was born in Alameda and died in 1993, was very proud of the men on the mission.

“I grew up with 79 uncles in addition to the ones I really had,” she said. “He was just very proud of how they turned out.”


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Government
KEYWORDS:
Their mission has been credited with boosting American spirits at a critical time, less than five months after the devastating Japanese attack on the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor and with Japan sweeping through the Pacific. The bombing inflicted only scattered damage, but lifted spirits at home while shaking Japan’s confidence.

While the damage from the raid was minimal, the embarrassment that Tokyo and other cities were bombed caused the Japanese Navy (1) to pull its units back from the Indian Ocean and the Coral Sea (at least in part) and (2) target Midway to prevent a recurrence. The rest, as they say, is history.

1 posted on 05/06/2012 8:44:41 PM PDT by DeaconBenjamin
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To: DeaconBenjamin

“Where do we get men like this?” The answer is a free Republic that values life, law and property. Currently we have many warriors who have fought for the last 11 years and also deserve equal recognition. Taking nothing away from this generation..we have many heroes in our midst. This morning at church I met a young Marine who had lost both legs in this war..now fighting to establish a new life. We need to honor our heroes.


2 posted on 05/06/2012 8:53:59 PM PDT by Oldexpat
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To: DeaconBenjamin

I am not sure the mission was a good idea tho the men who flew them were indeed heroes. When they were launched they had little hope of reaching a safe destination. I really think they should have gotten the 500 miles closer despite the fishing boat having gotten off a message.

The loss of 16 B-25s and a lot of their crews was worth a lot more than the damage they did.

It may have had morale value but who knows for sure? It might have even made the Japanese more adamant in fighting against us.


3 posted on 05/06/2012 8:56:02 PM PDT by yarddog
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To: yarddog

Ironically, it was a major victory for the US, as it caused the Japanese to (mostly) recall their fleets when there was very little to oppose them.


4 posted on 05/06/2012 9:04:36 PM PDT by DeaconBenjamin (A trillion here, a trillion there, soon you're NOT talking real money)
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To: DeaconBenjamin
I've often wondered what was in the minds of the B-25 pilots when they took off from the Hornet.

It had never been done before. There were calculations by some faceless engineer, who had calculated it could be done.

Barely. Maybe...

So, you're sitting there on deck, revving the engines to peak RPM, the deck is pitching up and down, you take your feet off the brakes...then what? When do you start hauling back on the yoke? Do you close your eyes? Do you pray?

5 posted on 05/06/2012 9:04:42 PM PDT by okie01
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To: yarddog
The loss of 16 B-25s and a lot of their crews was worth a lot more than the damage they did.

This early in the war, the loss of 16 B-25s was fairly significant but by 1943/44 standards was modest.

It may have had morale value but who knows for sure? It might have even made the Japanese more adamant in fighting against us.

The raid solidified Japanese resolve to invade Midway and things went pretty well for the Americans at Midway.

6 posted on 05/06/2012 9:06:53 PM PDT by fso301
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To: okie01

Actually Doolittle had already done it off the coast of Norfolk.

During the mission they had a good wind and with the carrier’s added speed you can see them just about lifting into the air well before reaching the end of the runway.

They at first appear to be barely moving but they are going into something like 80mph winds One made it even tho he forgot to set his flaps.


7 posted on 05/06/2012 9:08:54 PM PDT by yarddog
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To: DeaconBenjamin

Probably prevented an invasion of Hawaii.


8 posted on 05/06/2012 9:11:58 PM PDT by Huskrrrr
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To: DeaconBenjamin

I met one of them, his son was a classmate of mine.


9 posted on 05/06/2012 9:15:00 PM PDT by razorback-bert (Some days it's not worth chewing through the straps.)
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To: okie01

“When do you start hauling back on the yoke?”

I guess I would wait until the one before me made it up successfully! Hmm - what if the first plane had gone into the drink - would the second one have tried?


10 posted on 05/06/2012 9:15:17 PM PDT by 21twelve
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To: DeaconBenjamin
"The Japanese also killed Chinese villagers suspected of helping many of the airmen escape."

Sounds like a simple innocuous sentence in a article.

However, by some estimates and now quoting from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doolittle_Raid#cite_ref-3, it states

"Approximately 250,000 Chinese civilians were massacred by the Japanese Army in eastern China in retaliation for Chinese assistance of the attacking American aviators.[4]"

I believe that is as much part of the story as bravery of these fine men. Am sure they would never want that part of the story ever forgotten. And I hope we as Americans can honor and never forget what they (Chinese civilians) did for these men and the price they paid for their freedom.

11 posted on 05/06/2012 9:16:05 PM PDT by saywhatagain
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To: 21twelve
Hmm - what if the first plane had gone into the drink - would the second one have tried?

That's why Doolittle took off first.

12 posted on 05/06/2012 9:18:07 PM PDT by okie01
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To: Oldexpat
"Where do we get men like this?” The answer is a free Republic that values life, law and property. Currently we have many warriors who have fought for the last 11 years and also deserve equal recognition. Taking nothing away from this generation..we have many heroes in our midst. This morning at church I met a young Marine who had lost both legs in this war..now fighting to establish a new life. We need to honor our heroes.
We have many heroes in our midst. We had a young Marine at church in March. He was walking on crutches and came home after several months in the hospital. His body was still full of shrapnel from an IED in Afganistan. Our biggest problem isn't the Military. Our biggest problem is the cowards in Washington.
13 posted on 05/06/2012 9:23:07 PM PDT by wjcsux ("In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." - George Orwell)
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To: 21twelve

Doolittle was first. I’m pretty sure every plane would have tried.


14 posted on 05/06/2012 9:25:29 PM PDT by alpo
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To: yarddog

I doubt that the men who flew the mission would agree with you.

I don’t either. But you’re certainly welcome to your opinion.


15 posted on 05/06/2012 9:38:29 PM PDT by onedoug
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To: DeaconBenjamin
The Japanese military had bragged to their civilians and promised them that the Japanese homeland would never be bombed. The Doolittle raid made Tojo Hideki and his goons lose face -- big time.

Anyone who does not fully understand the importance of "face" to Samurai-descendent Japanese can't grasp how terribly devastating the Doolitte raid was to the Japanese military...

16 posted on 05/06/2012 9:51:44 PM PDT by TXnMA ("Allah": Satan's current alias...)
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To: DeaconBenjamin

One of my favorote family possesioins is a map of the raid signed by several of the raiders including Doolittle with a note presenting it to my grandfather. The note ends with the line “Tokyo Bound April 1942.” Heroes, One and all.


17 posted on 05/06/2012 10:04:10 PM PDT by ConservaTexan (February 6, 1911)
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To: okie01

Kind of off topic but the whole “never done it before” aspect reminds me of another Aviation on the sea in the military story I heard of. When I was at the Naval Aviation Museum at Pensacola they had a C-130 that was a part of an experiment to see if they could land it on a carrier at sea. They had to put the props in reverse prior to touching down but they made it.


18 posted on 05/06/2012 10:05:00 PM PDT by chargers fan
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To: chargers fan

The 130 is a pretty incredible bird. Almost 10 x’s the amount of power it needs to fly and you can wrap it around like a fighter before the gear comes all the way up. I’ve had more than a few “white-knuckle” hops on a 130. Never a concern.


19 posted on 05/06/2012 10:17:10 PM PDT by 98ZJ USMC
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To: yarddog

>I really think they should have gotten the 500 miles closer despite the fishing boat having gotten off a message.

Sir, that is stupid beyond belief. Our carrier would certainly have been sunk - 16 B-25s whose only value was minimal without forward bases to reach any target was slight loss in context of the war and their staying out & doing nothing would have added nothing at all to the war effort in the pacific theater.

Who knows for sure?? The public at that time and the men who flew the mission, thats who!


20 posted on 05/06/2012 10:30:20 PM PDT by bill1952 (Choice is an illusion created between those with power - and those without)
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To: Huskrrrr

Actually, the defeat at Midway did that, but by extention, you are correct. The Doolittle Raid, as previously posted, set in motion the events that led to Operation MI (JN-25 “AF”) Midway. Previously, the Japanese leadership was lukewarm to Yamamoto’s proposal.

Had Midway gone as planned, a move against Hawaii would have followed very soon thereafter. It may have been “game over”, at that point. Australia was essentially defenseless from invasion and the British in the Far East were equally useless, at the time. Without the advance base at Pearl, sorties from the West Coast would be perilous, at best. The Panama Canal would have been either bombed or seized.


21 posted on 05/06/2012 10:33:32 PM PDT by 98ZJ USMC
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To: yarddog

The take off’s can be seen on YouTube. They were filmed from a US Navy destroyer, I think.


22 posted on 05/06/2012 10:46:28 PM PDT by unkus (Silence Is Consent)
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To: yarddog

I am not sure the mission was a good idea tho the men who flew them were indeed heroes. When they were launched they had little hope of reaching a safe destination. I really think they should have gotten the 500 miles closer despite the fishing boat having gotten off a message.

The loss of 16 B-25s and a lot of their crews was worth a lot more than the damage they did.

It may have had morale value but who knows for sure? It might have even made the Japanese more adamant in fighting against us.


We needed to retaliate for Pearl Harbor.

It was psychologically positive for America and had a negative impact on the Japanese.

It increased our resolve to defeat the Japanese.

The Japanese High Command knew they were going to eventually be beaten.

To paraphrase Admiral Yamamoto: “All we have done is awakened a sleeping giant and filled him with a terrible resolve”.


23 posted on 05/06/2012 10:53:39 PM PDT by unkus (Silence Is Consent)
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To: unkus

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f25-FnGkiwo


24 posted on 05/06/2012 10:54:12 PM PDT by LeoWindhorse
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To: DeaconBenjamin

Bended knee

Their time with us is fleeting

Probably better off considering how unworthy most of us are today


25 posted on 05/06/2012 11:00:37 PM PDT by wardaddy (I am a social conservative. My political party left me(again). They can go to hell in a bucket.)
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To: LeoWindhorse

Thank you, LeoWindhorse.

That brought a tear to my eye as it does every time I see it.


26 posted on 05/06/2012 11:00:51 PM PDT by unkus (Silence Is Consent)
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To: 98ZJ USMC

I’ve had more than a few “white-knuckle” hops on a 130. Never a concern.


I had one hop like that in Nam. But us grunts >were< concerned. LOL


27 posted on 05/06/2012 11:03:34 PM PDT by unkus (Silence Is Consent)
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To: yarddog
When they were launched they had little hope of reaching a safe destination. I really think they should have gotten the 500 miles closer despite the fishing boat having gotten off a message.

They couldn't risk the carriers, Hornet and Enterprise. They only had three in the whole Pacific when the war started, two more were added, but Saratoga had been torpedoed and was on the West Coast for repairs, so only 4 were operational at the time of the Doolittle raid. Those carriers and the power they represented was worth a whole lot more than the B-25s, and their crews too. Remember the carriers had crews too, highly trained ones in many positions on the ship, and not easily replaced. It was a risky move to begin with, but the risk went way up when they were spotted. They had no way of knowing the boats did not get off a successful contact report.

28 posted on 05/06/2012 11:13:06 PM PDT by El Gato ("The second amendment is the reset button of the US constitution"-Doug McKay)
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To: unkus

my dad flew against the Krauts in the ETO - 9th AAF mediums - saw some real shit


29 posted on 05/06/2012 11:13:06 PM PDT by LeoWindhorse
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To: okie01
It had never been done before. There were calculations by some faceless engineer, who had calculated it could be done.

They had all practiced short take offs on land, same length. Doolittle took off first, meaning he had the shortest take off roll. I imagine when he made it (just barely, there's video), the rest loosened up a bit.

30 posted on 05/06/2012 11:18:30 PM PDT by El Gato ("The second amendment is the reset button of the US constitution"-Doug McKay)
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To: bill1952

Good points, bill1952.

I don’t think it’s ever been determined if the fishing boat(s) got off any messages. They didn’t dare take the risk that they didn’t.

No, we could not risk losing the Hornet and it was more valuable than all those bombers. At the time of the raid, we only had three carriers (I think) in the Pacific.

In a few months, the Hornet went on to play a key role at Midway.


31 posted on 05/06/2012 11:21:20 PM PDT by unkus (Silence Is Consent)
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To: chargers fan
They had to put the props in reverse prior to touching down but they made it.

A guy I used to work with, retired USMC Lt.Col., flew that same C-130 after those tests. He said the gear never was quite right. OK under most circumstances, but just not "right".

32 posted on 05/06/2012 11:23:30 PM PDT by El Gato ("The second amendment is the reset button of the US constitution"-Doug McKay)
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To: LeoWindhorse

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlFAk0NAJko&feature


33 posted on 05/06/2012 11:24:02 PM PDT by LeoWindhorse
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To: yarddog

The Doolittle Raid showed the world that America would fight back and take the fight to the enemy.


34 posted on 05/06/2012 11:24:13 PM PDT by hoosierham (Freedom isn't free)
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To: okie01
"It had never been done before. There were calculations by some faceless engineer, who had calculated it could be done."-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------(Why does this posting thingy eleminate your paragraphs when you have a link included?)----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Hasn't anyone younger than I read the book or seen the movie "30 Seconds Over Tokyo"? Both do a very good job of explaining the training for the mission and the crews thoughts and feelings. Even though it's black and white the flying scenes in the film will put knots in your gut. Here is PART 1 from YouTube.
35 posted on 05/06/2012 11:26:00 PM PDT by fella ("As it was before Noah, so shall it be again.")
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To: ConservaTexan

What a keepsake you have there!

I had the honor and pleasure of shaking hands with one of the Navigators at an Air Show near Denver about 25 years ago.


36 posted on 05/06/2012 11:26:18 PM PDT by unkus (Silence Is Consent)
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To: LeoWindhorse

and in this one we see , a few years later , where we really ripped the nips a new one , on a regular basis .

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5g571TQHDvU&feature

We need Doolittles’ and LeMays’ today !

America needs to be led by warriors not by lawyers .

We should be applying the same techniques of victory , back then , to Pakistan and Iran today . Get it on and get it done , and to hell with them if they resist . White flags emerging from the rubble , that’s what we need to see .


37 posted on 05/06/2012 11:49:26 PM PDT by LeoWindhorse
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To: DeaconBenjamin

In the summer of 1943 my family lived in Alameda California.
I was about 6 or 7 years old.
my brother and I stood on the curb and watched a parade come
down Lincoln Avenue. Marching bands, Marines and Saliors
and a convertible with a hansome man sitting up in the back
throwing candy to us kids and smiling.
It was Jimmy Doolittle and I have never forgotten that day.


38 posted on 05/07/2012 1:38:49 AM PDT by Pompah
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To: yarddog
The raid had long reaching implications beyond the morale.

It is said that much resources were diverted to protect the mainland because of it, and it forced the IJN to become more aggressive, resulting in Midway.

God Bless those men. Even today, I would lift a glass to them.


39 posted on 05/07/2012 2:57:29 AM PDT by rlmorel ("The safest road to Hell is the gradual one." Screwtape (C.S. Lewis))
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To: unkus

The carrier was the key, and that is why they launched early. They were willing to sacrifice the cruisers, destroyers, planes, men and even the mission, but they were not willing to sacrifice the carrier.

She did meet her fate a few months later, though...


40 posted on 05/07/2012 3:02:01 AM PDT by rlmorel ("The safest road to Hell is the gradual one." Screwtape (C.S. Lewis))
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To: DeaconBenjamin

bttt


41 posted on 05/07/2012 3:26:19 AM PDT by GOPJ ( "A Dog In Every Pot" - freeper ETL)
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To: 98ZJ USMC

Thank you for these comments.


42 posted on 05/07/2012 5:55:33 AM PDT by Huskrrrr
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To: ConservaTexan
I'd love to see the appraisal on Antiques Roadshow
43 posted on 05/07/2012 5:59:00 AM PDT by catman67
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To: rlmorel

You know the story well.


44 posted on 05/07/2012 8:02:44 AM PDT by unkus (Silence Is Consent)
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To: unkus

Indeed...I read “30 Seconds Over Tokyo” when I was seven, and it influenced my viewpoint on a lot of things. A year later, my Dad got orders to Japan, and we all went with him. It was interesting.

If you are interested, I finished reading “Neptune’s Infrerno” about the naval battles around the Solomon Islands. A real horrorshow. Best book of its kind I have read in years, on par with Samuel Eliot Morison’s works, even better because it is much more in depth.


45 posted on 05/07/2012 9:05:45 AM PDT by rlmorel ("The safest road to Hell is the gradual one." Screwtape (C.S. Lewis))
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To: unkus

LOL...that’s “Neptune’s Inferno”...:)


46 posted on 05/07/2012 9:07:42 AM PDT by rlmorel ("The safest road to Hell is the gradual one." Screwtape (C.S. Lewis))
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To: okie01

Actually, they had practiced taking off on a stretch of airfield as long as an aircraft carrier. Of course, the air strip wasn’t pitching....


47 posted on 05/07/2012 6:52:34 PM PDT by DeaconBenjamin (A trillion here, a trillion there, soon you're NOT talking real money)
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