'Doolittle Raiders' Honored at Wreath Laying

Image: 'Doolittle Raiders' Honored at Wreath Laying Three of the four surviving members of the 1942 Tokyo raid led by Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle, from left, David Thatcher, Edward Saylor and Richard Cole, pose next to a monument marking the raid on Nov. 9 at the National Museum for the U.S. Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.

Saturday, 09 Nov 2013 11:38 PM

By Newsmax Wires

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The remaining Doolittle Raiders gathered at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio Saturday to partake in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Doolittle Raider memorial in Memorial Park, followed by a flyover of B-25 aircraft.

The Doolittle Tokyo Raiders was a group eighty men from all walks of life who flew into history on April 18, 1942. They were all volunteers and this was a very dangerous mission.

Sixteen B-25 bombers took off from the deck of the USS Hornet, led by (then Col.) Jimmy Doolittle. They were to fly over Japan, drop their bombs and fly on to land in a part of China that was still free. Of course, things do not always go as planned.

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The months following the attack on Pearl Harbor in December, 1941, were the darkest of the war, as Imperial Japanese forces rapidly extended their reach across the Pacific.

By spring, 1942, America needed a severe morale boost. The raid on Tokyo on April 18, 1942, certainly provided that – cheering the American military and public.

The speakers of the memorial tribute include retired Lt. Col. Richard E. Cole, Acting Secretary of the Air Force Eric Fanning and Museum Director, retired Lt. Gen. Jack Hudson.

“The Doolittle Raiders are an example to all Americans and all Airmen,” Fanning said. “That even in our darkest days there are some among us who have the courage to step forward and say, ‘Send me.’ We owe them our eternal respect and gratitude. Gentlemen, thank you for what you did for your country those many years ago, for representing all those who served with you and for being an inspiration to the rest of us everyday since then.”

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Cole also spoke during the event.

“We all shared the same risk and had no realization of the positive effect on our effort and on the morale of the Americans at the time of great national peril," he said. "We are grateful we had the opportunity to serve and are mindful that our nation benefited from our service. Thank you for joining us today.”

The ceremony was attended by three of the four living Doolittle Tokyo Raiders: retired Lt. Col. Richard “Dick” E. Cole, the copilot of Aircraft No. 1; Lt. Col. Edward J. Saylor, the engineer-gunner of Aircraft No. 7; and Staff Sgt. David J. Thatcher, the engineer-gunner of Aircraft No. 7. The fourth living Doolittle Raider, retired Lt. Col. Robert L. Hite, the copilot of Aircraft No. 16, could not attend the ceremony due to health issues.

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The Doolittle Raiders Final Toast Ceremony was streamed via the Air Force and The National Museum’s Web sites here.




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