Doolittle's Raiders 70th Reunion.
- From: Bill
Subject: Fw: Doolittle Raiders' 70th Reunion 2012
Date: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 10:29 PM
I just read the email you sent about the Crosley Moonbeam and the Doolittle Raiders. Just thought you might like to share this with some of the members.
Thanks, Bill Doolittle
… A photo-essay sampling of my photography from attending the Doolittle Raiders’ 70thAnniversary Reunion events last week (17-19 Apr 2012) …
The static display on Tuesday, a line-up of 20 North American B-25 “Mitchell” fast medium bombers of various versions and paint schemes, gathered at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in observance of the Doolittle Tokyo Raid on Japan, 18 April 1942:
I spent about eight hours walking up and down the flightline, doing about three circuits of the aircraft, taking many photographs, learning additional new history, listening to war stories by modern aircrews and WWII veterans, seeing some old friends and making a few new ones, and absorbing lots of solar radiation -- a great day!
A nicely-painted B-25J carries the Doolittle Raiders’ official badge. Patriotic nose art, polished aluminum and a sunny morning combine for this warbird character study.
It was a very bad day for a Japanese merchant ship, if a patrolling B-25H crossed its path. According to Mr. Ralph Anderson, my high school science teacher who flew B-25s and B-29s in WWII, the proper attack technique is a shallow dive at the ship, while firing your 50-caliber machine guns. When you see bullet hits at the waterline, fire the semi-automatic 75-mm howitzer to put *BIG* holes in the target vessel … a very successful anti-shipping tactic that rarely required a second pass!
Noontime on Wednesday: 40 Wright R-2600 engines starting and warming up in front of the large crowd, which has gathered at the Museum and on Colonel Glenn Highway to see the B-25 takeoffs and commemorative flyover:
The first B-25 is in the air and the wheels are coming up, for the formation join-up over Beavercreek and the flyovers at the Museum.
The 16-ship fly-over commemorating the Doolittle Raid of 18 April 1942 came over the Museum at approximately the Raid's bombing altitude of 1200 ft AGL:
Yes, they were loud … but not nearly as irritating as if they were jet engines!
I obtained several good close-ups during the flyover. I don’t know about you folks, but the Missing Man formation *always* chokes me up … see
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missing_man_formation if the significance of this salute is unknown to you.)
After the flyovers, there was a short ceremony and a wreath-laying at the Doolittle Raiders memorial. Col. C.V. Glines (Jimmy Doolittle’s biographer and an honorary Raider) gave a historical sketch, followed by a brief speech by Lt. Col. Richard E. Cole’s (Doolittle’s co-pilot of No. 1, and a Dayton native):
It was remarkable that this 96-year-old has a stronger speaking voice than others (decades younger) we heard at the same event!
Some of the Raiders leaving the ceremony. From the left: Staff Sgt. David J. Thatcher, Engineer-Gunner of No. 7 (back to the camera); Cole; Glines; and Lt. Col. Edward J. Saylor, Engineer-Gunner of No. 15 (hand obscuring face). Take a look at these old gentlemen -- they are genuinely enjoying themselves!
At a reception that evening, I mentioned to Major Thomas Griffin, Navigator of No. 9 (in white cap toward the right in the photo below) that it appeared that he and the other Raiders truly were having a good time, and his response was, “Oh, yes! We all look forward to this all year!”
Thursday: The 80 silver goblets and 1896 bottle of Hennessy cognac were on display at the Raiders luncheon.
(The rumor on Wednesday evening, as related to me by one of the caterers, was that the Raiders would uncork the bottle for this year’s toast to the departed Raiders. … Although this is slightly contrary to Jimmy Doolittle’s stipulation that the last two surviving Raiders would open it to drink a final toast to their departed comrades, it would be entirely appropriate for the Raiders to do so in this 70thanniversary year, if they really think this will be their last reunion. I have looked but not yet found any confirmation of whether or not they cracked that bottle on Thursday -- does anyone else have the straight dope?):
( For the story of the goblets, see http://www.doolittleraider.com/the_goblets.htm )
The Reunion guests also included two Navy veterans who served on the USS Hornet CV-8 during the Raid (actually, who served on Hornet from its commissioning, 20 Oct 1941, to its sinking in the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, 27 Oct 1942!; CPO Allen Josey shown below), a woman whose husband had assisted Crew #2’s evasion of the Japanese and return to safety from their Chinese village, and family members of the other Raider crews.
… Reflecting on what these many heroes had risked, sacrificed and achieved is simultaneously inspiring, humbling … and a terrific way to check one’s perspective …
During the office golf outing on Friday, five or six B-25s crossed our airspace (most of them singly; once as a 2-ship). It seems that many of the attending B-25 crews had stayed in town for the Raiders’ banquet on Thursday night, and then left for their home bases throughout Friday morning. It was nice to hear those big sweet ol’ Wright radials “one more time!”
Needless to say, I had a great week; these guys have been among my heroes since I was 10 or 11 years old. It was a real treat to see four of the five surviving Doolittle Raiders here enjoying the Reunion as much as we fans did, and to see them and the other Reunion guests being honored by the unprecedented 20 B-25 gathering and the (very well-behaved!) crowd.
Several of you asked for additional photographs; I will share some more photos as I sort through my 1,857 (!!!) frame backlog over the next week or so.
Enjoy! -- GT
Air Force Association 317th Miami-Homestead Chapter
"America's Relevant AFA Chapter"
Rodrigo J. Huete Lt.Col USAF (Ret.)
Orlando Llenza, MG, USAF (Ret).
AFA-317th Vice President
CROSLEY CAR OWNERS CLUB