Wednesday, April 19, 2017
The Doolittle Raid 75 Years Ago
As noted by the National World War II Museum, seventy-five years ago yesterday, Lt. Col. James Doolittle led a flight of 16 B-25 Mitchell bombers off the flight deck of the USS Hornet in the western Pacific. Their destination? Tokyo. This mission was the first aerial bombing attack on Japanese territory after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. It was also the first attempt to launch medium bombers off the deck of an aircraft carrier. Of the 16 planes on the mission, one landed in Russia, and the others crash landed or the crews bailed out over China. Although the attack did little physical damage, the impact on both the American and Japanese morale was significant. Three days after the mission launched, President Roosevelt responded to a reporter's question that the raiders were launched from a secret base in "Shangri-La," a fictional Tibetan monastery featured in the book and movie Lost Horizon.