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© Richard Knight
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Photo Info
UploadedApril 26, 2012
TakenApril 18, 2012
ModelCanon PowerShot SX30 IS
Exposure1/1250 sec at f/4
FlashNo Flash
Focal Length4.3 mm
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Q: Does anyone know of any good online diplomas to do?

A: Do you know?

Photo license: © All rights reserved

[Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio, April 18, 2012. Shown are twenty vintage B-25 “Mitchell” bombers participating in the flyover that afternoon, exactly 70 years after Doolittle's Raid. I edited this photo to "suggest" what it might have looked like in movie theaters in 1942 and to people on the ground, who would have been milling around without a clue of what was about to happen.]

Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941, America faced a grim and uncertain future. The national mood darkened.

The United States Army Air Force (USAAF) proposed a bold and daring bombing raid on Japan to improve the national morale. Such a raid would also demonstrate that the Japanese homeland was not immune to attack.

Under the proposal, an aircraft carrier would enter the Japanese defensive perimeter and launch its aircraft toward several selected targets, including Tokyo. The planes – medium bombers – would not return to the carrier but would, instead, land in China where their crews would be sheltered by Chinese allies.

Under the leadership of Lt. Col. (later Gen.) Jimmy H. Doolittle, sixteen (16) B-25 “Mitchells” and eighty pilots and crew were assembled for the mission on board the U.S.S. Hornet, which had a flight deck of 500 feet. However, the “Doolittle Raiders,” as they came to be called, were confident that their aircraft could takeoff from such a short runway.

On April 18, 1942, the Hornet was spotted by a Japanese ship, part of the Japanese “picket line.” Still hundreds of miles from their launch point, Col. Doolittle made the decision to “go,” even though it meant that the planes would not have the fuel to reach Chinese landing fields.

The Hornet turned into the wind and the sixteen bombers and their crews of eighty men took off. All sixteen bombers delivered their payloads and completed their runs.

Doolittle’s Raiders crash-landed and some ditched in the sea. Of the eighty men, several were killed on impact, and others drowned. A handful were captured and executed by the Japanese. The large majority made their way back to friendly lines, thanks to the Chinese.

Doolittle’s Raiders did not return to the United States for a USO tour. Those who were fit to fly continued to do so. Many saw action in Africa and Europe, and four Raiders were captured by the Germans.

After the Second World War, Gen. Doolittle began hosting an annual reunion of the Raiders. And every year, the Raiders reassemble to remember that day, so long ago, when these young men literally threw caution to the wind in the defense of their nation. Yes, this was the "greatest generation."

For more information, I highly recommend "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo" (1944), starring Spencer Tracy and Van Johnson. You will enjoy it!

As always, thanks for stopping by!

37 responses

  • Fred Moskey

    Fred Moskey said (26 Apr 2012):

    "Purple Heart" is another movie that tells the fate of those raiders who were captured by the Japanese. Great photo!

  • eithne mythen

    eithne mythen gave props (26 Apr 2012):

    Oh Yeah, really enjoyed that film footage and your shot is most excellent..

  • Richard Knight

    Richard Knight said (26 Apr 2012):

    During the 70th Reunion, one of the four Raiders mentioned that the flight deck was so crowded that one or two of the bombers had to hang off the back end of the carrier (the "Hornet"). The video clip is proof. Also notice that these medium bombers were inclined to "dip" once they were off the carrier; however, none of them crashed on takeoff.

  • Regenia Brabham

    Regenia Brabham gave props (26 Apr 2012):

    Such brave souls that day and so many days during the war. I can not imagine. A terrific tribute and your edit is perfect.

  • Donna Mullins

    Donna Mullins (Deleted) gave props (26 Apr 2012):

    Great editing Richard. Thanks for sharing! Hated that I missed the meet-up. Here's hoping for the next one!

  • Andrea Petersen

    Andrea Petersen gave props (26 Apr 2012):

    Interesting photo, narrative and history lesson. I believe I did see that movie one time.

  • Sarah Springer

    Sarah Springer (Deleted) gave props (26 Apr 2012):

    Always interested in learning about history..very well done, Richard

  • Donald Garrett

    Donald Garrett gave props (26 Apr 2012):

    You've scored a big 10 with this one. Great modern history moment to actually witness and most excellent narrative.

  • Betty Maxey

    Betty Maxey   gave props (26 Apr 2012):

    Awesome for sure..... Very brave men! Excellant history lesson too!

  • John Linton

    John Linton gave props (26 Apr 2012):

    Unfortunately the Hornet was sunk later that year at the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands.

  • Litz Go

    Litz Go gave props (26 Apr 2012):

    This is a very authentic photo. Great processing, Dix! (you almost fooled me, I thought this is one on your old photos) I love reading that story and will visit the link later. I hope I'm not mistaken but the Hornet is now on dock in SF Bay area (Oakland) on display. We happen to know the artist who made the banners now ond display. We did embroidered some souvenir t-shirts and hats when it was about to open to the public.

  • Heather Mellon

    Heather Mellon gave props (26 Apr 2012):

    A truly vintage look here with a very interesting narrative.. and some very brave souls, indeed!

  • daniele castellucchio

    daniele castellucchio gave props (26 Apr 2012):

    wonderful shot and tone!

  • Judy and Wayne Wanamaker

    Judy and Wayne Wanamaker gave props (26 Apr 2012):

    A great part of our history, when these men demonstrated the true meaning of patriotism. Wonderful shot and story, Dick!

  • je suis moi

    je suis moi gave props (26 Apr 2012):

    A part of our American history 101 - though very young I remember how this affected our family.

  • elfriede fulda

    elfriede fulda (Deleted) gave props (26 Apr 2012):

    Now that's more like it, love what you did with this shot and the video and the narrative, outstanding Richard, great to see you back !

  • Susan Littlefield

    Susan Littlefield gave props (27 Apr 2012):

    Fabulous editing job....it does look like a Movietone!!! Wonderful narrative, too; it must have been incredibly moving to be there with those few remaining heroes.

  • Paperini Renato

    Paperini Renato said (27 Apr 2012):

    The story looks at us, it is right and proper to remember, the annual meeting of the surviving Raiders, is a tribute to those who have sacrificed and to those who are gone. I hope it continues forever. Good job Dick.

  • Carl Kuntze

    Carl Kuntze gave props (27 Apr 2012):

    Masterful composition. Brings me back to the time I first watched Japanese then American bombers over Manila. They looked like deadly butterflies.

  • Carlo Pagan

    Carlo Pagan gave props (28 Apr 2012):

    Great story, great shot, great Richard!!!!

  • Ioana Caravan

    Ioana Caravan   gave props (28 Apr 2012):

    Thank you Richard to share this with us!

  • Saroj Swain

    Saroj Swain gave props (30 Apr 2012):

    Thanks Sir Richard.... Awesome .... Excellant history lesson for us.... Thanks for sharing....

  • Brad Paro

    Brad Paro gave props (30 Apr 2012):

    Thank you Dick for keeping our history of this country alive, while the powers that be are working around the clock to erase it... Well done!!

  • Ken O'Brien

    Ken O'Brien gave props (30 Apr 2012):

    Great shot!

  • Leslie Hunziker

    Leslie Hunziker   gave props (30 Apr 2012):

    beautifully edited and depicted!

  • dp *

    dp * gave props (1 May 2012):

    Super photo and tribute!

  • JamesHarmon McQuilkin

    JamesHarmon McQuilkin   gave props (1 May 2012):

    Not just a well composed capture--you have found a way of creating the effect and appearance from the time period itself

  • Suzanne McGeady

    Suzanne McGeady said (1 May 2012):

    Richie you have done superb justice to this image. And I loved reading about the time when life was not very pleasant for these brave men. they did you, and us, so very proud. Thank you for sharing.

  • Deborah Downes

    Deborah Downes gave props (3 May 2012):

    Thanks so much for sharing, Richard. A wonderful tribute.

  • Lanis Rossi

    Lanis Rossi gave props (7 May 2012):

    Those were the days! Nice job Dick!

  • Bruce Wendler

    Bruce Wendler gave props (11 May 2012):


  • Jen Mars

    Jen Mars gave props (12 May 2012):

    awesome photo. I love that you put stories with your photos

  • tania medina

    tania medina gave props (5 Jun 2012):

    Thanks for sharing the photo and a part of story with it.

  • Laurie Search

    Laurie Search gave props (8 Jun 2012):

    Love that big, beautiful sky!!

  • Saroj Swain

    Saroj Swain gave props (22 Jun 2012):

    Great story, great shot..................

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