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Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by oknow, Feb 9, 2015.

  1. oknow

    oknow amboy wa. Well-Known Member

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    Doolittle Raiders 1942
    They once were among the most universally admired and revered men in the United States .. There were 80 of the Raiders in April 1942, when they carried out one of the most courageous and heart-stirring military operations in this nation's history. The mere mention of their unit's name, in those years, would bring tears to the eyes of grateful Americans.
    Now only four survive.

    After Japan's sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, with the United States reeling and wounded, something dramatic was needed to turn the war effort around.

    Even though there were no friendly airfields close enough to Japan for the United States to launch a retaliation, a daring plan was devised. Sixteen B-25s were modified so that they could take off from the deck of an aircraft carrier. This had never before been tried -- sending such big, heavy bombers from a carrier.


    The 16 five-man crews, under the command of Lt. Col. James Doolittle, who himself flew the lead plane off the USS Hornet, knew that they would not be able to return to the carrier. They would have to hit Japan and then hope to make it to China for a safe landing.

    But on the day of the raid, the Japanese military caught wind of the plan. The Raiders were told that they would have to take off from much farther out in the Pacific Ocean than they had counted on. They were told that because of this they would not have enough fuel to make it to safety.
    And those men went anyway.

    They bombed Tokyo and then flew as far as they could. Four planes crash-landed; 11 more crews bailed out, and three of the Raiders died. Eight more were captured; three were executed.

    Another died of starvation in a Japanese prison camp. One crew made it to Russia.




    The Doolittle Raiders sent a message from the United States to its enemies, and to the rest of the world: We will fight. And, no matter what it takes, we will win.

    Of the 80 Raiders, 62 survived the war. They were celebrated as national heroes, models of bravery. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer produced a motion picture based on the raid; "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo," starring Spencer Tracy and Van Johnson, was a patriotic and emotional box-office hit, and the phrase became part of the national lexicon. In the movie-theater previews for the film, MGM proclaimed that it was presenting the story "with supreme pride."


    Beginning in 1946, the surviving Raiders have held a reunion each April, to commemorate the mission. The reunion is in a different city each year. In 1959, the city of Tucson, Arizona, as a gesture of respect and gratitude, presented the Doolittle Raiders with a set of 80 silver goblets. Each goblet was engraved with the name of a Raider.


    Every year, a wooden display case bearing all 80 goblets is transported to the reunion city. Each time a Raider passes away, his goblet is turned upside down in the case at the next reunion, as his old friends bear solemn witness.

    Al so in the wooden case is a bottle of 1896 Hennessy Very Special cognac. The year is not happenstance: 1896 was when Jimmy Doolittle was born.

    There has always been a plan: When there are only two surviving Raiders, they would open the bottle, at last drink from it, and toast their comrades who preceded them in death.

    As 2013 began, there were five living Raiders; then, in February, Tom Griffin passed away at age 96.

    What a man he was. After bailing out of his plane over a mountainous Chinese forest after the Tokyo raid, he became ill with malaria, and almost died. When he recovered, he was sent to Europe to fly more combat missions. He was shot down, captured, and spent 22 months in a German prisoner of war camp.

    The selflessness of these men, the sheer guts ... there was a passage in the Cincinnati Enquirer obituary for Mr. Griffin that, on the surface, had nothing to do with the war, but that was emblematic of the depth of his sense of duty and devotion:

    "When his wife became ill and needed to go into a nursing home, he visited her every day. He walked from his house to the nursing home, fed his wife and at the end of the day brought home her clothes. At night, he washed and ironed her clothes. Then he walked them up to her room the next morning. He did that for three years until her death in 2005."

    So now, out of the original 80, only four Raiders remain: Dick Cole (Doolittle's co-pilot on the Tokyo raid), Robert Hite, Edward Saylor and David Thatcher. All are in their 90s. They have decided that there are too few of them for the public reunions to continue.

    The events in Fort Walton Beach marked the end. It has come full circle; Florida's nearby Eglin Field was where the Raiders trained in secrecy for the Tokyo mission. The town planned to do all it can to honor the men: a six-day celebration of their valor, including luncheons, a dinner and a parade.

    Do the men ever wonder if those of us for whom they helped save the country have tended to it in a way that is worthy of their sacrifice? They don't talk about that, at least not around other people. But if you find yourself near Fort Walton Beach this week, and if you should encounter any of the Raiders, you might want to offer them a word of thanks. I can tell you from first hand observation that they appreciate hearing that they are remembered.

    The men have decided that after this final public reunion they will wait until a later date -- some time this year -- to get together once more, informally and in absolute privacy. That is when they will open the bottle of brandy. The years are flowing by too swiftly now; they are not going to wait until there are only two of them.

    They will fill the four remaining upturned goblets. And raise them in a toast to those who are gone.

    Their 70th Anniversary Photo
    Slobray, Dyjital, belcher and 12 others like this.
  2. Lilhigbee

    Lilhigbee SE Portland Visit Target550.com Gold Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Stories like this make me embarrassed of what our government has become, and of the people that have made it so.

    To paraphrase; "Never before have so few been so under-appreciated by so many."
    Slobray, Tbucket, Stomper and 6 others like this.
  3. Joao01

    Joao01 South King/North Pierce Active Member

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    a different era indeed
    Slobray, forefathersrback and oknow like this.
  4. BoonDocks36

    BoonDocks36 Oregon, in the boondocks Christian. Conservative. Male.

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    And.... Just a Reminder... For those that know....

    Always. Remember our "Rosie the Riveters", the young Woman in our Country, who built so much of the things our Military needed.

    My own (adopted) Grandmother was a Rosie the Riveter, in Bremerton, Washington... Building the 'Liberty' Ships that took our Troops overseas.

    I never see an elderly couple, of WWII ~Vintage~ Without thanking them BOTH, for keeping our Country, American.

    And I am actually Happy, that my Parents had passed, before the Treasoner in Chief came on the Political Scene.

    philip :( missing my GrandMothers Smile.... But I know I will see her again, she taught me what Jesus Christ was about.
  5. Sstrand

    Sstrand La Grande OR Well-Known Member

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    In those days the USA had the guts to bring the Japs to their knees . . . "In those days" . . .
    What a sad commentary!!!!!
    My uncle's brother came home blind from the "Death March." I have no sympathy for any nation that comes against us.

  6. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Thank you for posting this. It serves as a great reminder of a day when we had many more heroes willing to fight for this country, and many back home that supported them. Today we still have many heroes, but too many back home look at them as criminals and cowards (Hollywood crowd, politicians, etc.). So sad to see.
  7. U201491

    U201491 Well-Known Member

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    Yep, Mom Grandma, Aunts all were Working in the Oregon Shipyards building Liberty Ships.
    Even have pics of Mom Christening one of them on launch. EVERYONE chipped in and did their part.
    Today we can't even get a few thousand to stand up and protect their Constitution :(
  8. johnny bob

    johnny bob Auburn wa Member

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    Rip Lt Col Edward Saylor Jan 2015. I dont know how to post a link but if you google "Edward Saylor 15 TNT" an article comes up discribing what an asset to the mission he was as an NCO. He was in the 15th plane and TNT was their aircraft name.
  9. AMT

    AMT Vancouver, WA. Gold Supporter Gold Supporter

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    A salute to all of them!
  10. IronMonster

    IronMonster Washington Opinionated Member Diamond Supporter

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    I had never heard of the Doolittle raiders until one day I was sitting at Denny's for lunch and this old timer sitting in a booth across the way had on a Doolittle Raiders cap. I did a quick google search and the first picture to pop up was of the old timer now sitting across from me. I told the waiter I would like to pay for his lunch, he said "Sorry. Someone beat you to it" He got up and left before we did, I would have liked to personaly thank him for his service. By the way this was in Auburn WA not more than a few years ago. Anyone know if one of them is a local?
    Slobray, AMT, U201491 and 1 other person like this.
  11. johnny bob

    johnny bob Auburn wa Member

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    Lt Col Saylor lived in Sumner Washington and passed in January 2015.
    U201491 and IronMonster like this.
  12. Diamondback

    Diamondback A cold, wet green Hell Well-Known Member

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    I met LTC Saylor once or twice--didn't know well, total face-time less than three hours, but I think that time had an impact on both: we once got into an argument about heroism, he didn't think what he'd done was really heroic, but finally relented when I made the argument that "when Duty called, you answered, and in doing so set an example for future generations like mine to follow--and there's heroism and warrant for recognition enough in that." Those words drew a smile...

    I was working on a model of his B-25 I had planned to give him; now, it will occupy a space on my office bookshelf in his memory.
  13. johnny bob

    johnny bob Auburn wa Member

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    I am hoping someone will post that link I mentioned earlier that discribes some of the background of the operation. It was under the header "travelforaircraft" when you google "Edward Saylor 15 TNT". I am sure other would be interested in reading it if it was a one click link.
  14. forefathersrback

    forefathersrback Central Oregon Well-Known Member

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    oknow; excellent thread! I've always appreciated reading stories of those that served, and those that continue to serve. Thank~ You Sir.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2015
    U201491 likes this.
  15. oknow

    oknow amboy wa. Well-Known Member

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    I think it should be brought to the forefront to remind everyone why we have the freedoms that we are slowly giving away.
    U201491 and forefathersrback like this.
  16. Sgt Nambu

    Sgt Nambu Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I, also, salute these courageous warriors!

    BTW, my mom and dad worked for the war effort at Hyster in PDX.
    My wife (an RN) cared for a member of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. The all Niese (Japanese Americans) regiment that tore the German army a new one! They are, for the size of the unit and length of its existence, the most decorated unit in the history of the U.S. Military! I wish I could have met him, it would have been a great honor.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2015
  17. oknow

    oknow amboy wa. Well-Known Member

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    Lt. Col. Robert Hite, one of the famed World War II "Doolittle Tokyo Raiders," died Sunday at 95.

    Wallace Hite said his father died Sunday morning at a nursing facility in Nashville after battling Alzheimer's disease, according to The Associated Press.

    "Today he decided to go home and be with his wife," Wallace Hite said.

    Hite was among 80 men aboard 16 B-25 bombers whose mission was to strike Japan in April 1942. While the attack inflicted only scattered damage, it was credited with boosting American morale while shaking Japan's confidence and prompting strategy shifts less than five months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

    Eight Raiders were captured and three were executed; one more died in captivity and three others were killed after crash-landing or ditching at sea. Hite was among the Japanese captives and was imprisoned for 40 months.

    "I think he would want two things: that's the attitude we ought to have about our country; and the second is, he was just doing his job."
    - Wallace Hite

    He was liberated by American troops in 1945. In 1951, he returned to active duty during the Korean War and served overseas before relief from active duty in 1955.

    Wallace Hite said his father would want to be remembered for his patriotism, and for others to share the same sentiment.

    "I think he would want two things: that's the attitude we ought to have about our country; and the second is, he was just doing his job," he said.

    Hite's passing leaves two other surviving Raiders: retired Lt. Col. Richard "Dick" Cole and Staff Sgt. David Thatcher.

    The Raiders will be honored with the Congressional Gold Medal on April 15 in Washington, then present it on April 18 -- the 73rd anniversary of the raid -- to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.

    The gold medal will go on display at the museum near Dayton, joining an exhibit depicting the launch from an aircraft carrier of the Raiders' 1942 attack.
    forefathersrback likes this.