Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Doolittle's Raiders - 65 years ago
On April 17, 1942, 16 B-25 Mitchell bombers took off from the USS Hornet, a day and a hundreds of miles early, due to having been detected by a fishing boat.
That left them with enough fuel to reach the targets, but not enough to reach the bases. None were actually shot down, but all planes were lost , including 1 kept by the Soviets.
3 died in the mission, 4 more killed by the Japanese in captivity.
They have having their 65th reunion right now in San Antonio, 7 of them are still able to make it, a few others were not. The youngest of those still alive is 85 years old, and the oldest is 95.
In spite of the lack of actual damage caused, its value was boosting the morale of a nation still reeling from Pearl Harbor, and showing these Japanese they were not insulated from attack, causing them to bring more fighters home that could have been used elsewhere in the Pacific theatre of war.
In a few years, all the goblets will be inverted, no more yearly reunions will happen, the survivors cognac toasts will be in the past. But they will not be forgotten.
Always wear a good pair of aviator sunglasses when flying.