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[Reader’s Story] B-25 Doolittle Tokyo Raiders 70th Anniversary

Posted on 18 April 2013 by Randy RC Planes

We are excited about this post!

One of our readers sent this to us and we are honored to post this in remembrance of on April 18th, the 71st Anniversary of the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders.

The follow is from the 70th Anniversary event and we simply could not, not, post it!

To get us started, here is a video from the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders Official Website.

Doolittle Tokyo Raiders

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Thought you might enjoy this bit of history…and a look at a bunch of B-25s you may never have the opportunity to see.

The static display on +Tuesday, April 17, 2012 — this 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:

Randy-RC-Planes-B-25-Doolittle-Raid-70th-Anniversary-image002I spent about eight hours walking up and down the flight line, 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!

 

 

 

 

 

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(B-25J “Doolittle Raiders, Special Delivery”) This nicely-painted B-25J carries the Doolittle Raiders’ official badge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(B-25J “Old Glory”) Patriotic nose art, polished aluminum and a sunny morning the combine for this war bird character study.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Randy-RC-Planes-B-25-Doolittle-Raid-70th-Anniversary-image005 (B-25H “Barbie III”) 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!

 

 

 

Randy-RC-Planes-B-25-Doolittle-Raid-70th-Anniversary-image006Noontime 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.

 

 

Randy-RC-Planes-B-25-Doolittle-Raid-70th-Anniversary-image007(B-25J “Panchito”) 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:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Randy-RC-Planes-B-25-Doolittle-Raid-70th-Anniversary-image008Here’s a good shot of the 16-ship fly-over commemorating the Doolittle Raid of +18 April 1942. These aircraft 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:

 

 

 

 

Randy-RC-Planes-B-25-Doolittle-Raid-70th-Anniversary-image009(B-25J “Executive Sweet / My Buck”)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Randy-RC-Planes-B-25-Doolittle-Raid-70th-Anniversary-image010(B-25J “Devil Dog”)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Randy-RC-Planes-B-25-Doolittle-Raid-70th-Anniversary-image011(B-25 “Miss Hap”)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Randy-RC-Planes-B-25-Doolittle-Raid-70th-Anniversary-image012(B-25J “Yellow Rose”)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Missing Man formation always chokes me up …

Randy-RC-Planes-B-25-Doolittle-Raid-70th-Anniversary-image013(From left to right: “Miss Hap,” “Panchito” and B-25J “Betty’s
Dream;” see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missing_man_formation if the significance of this salute is unknown to you.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tokyo Raiders Remembrance Ceremony

Randy-RC-Planes-B-25-Doolittle-Raid-70th-Anniversary-image014After 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 (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!

 

 

 

 

Randy-RC-Planes-B-25-Doolittle-Raid-70th-Anniversary-image015Some 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!

 

 

 

Tokyo Raiders Remembrance Reception

Randy-RC-Planes-B-25-Doolittle-Raid-70th-Anniversary-image016At 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!”

 

 

 

 

 

Randy-RC-Planes-B-25-Doolittle-Raid-70th-Anniversary-image017Thursday: 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 70th anniversary 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, click here.

 

Randy-RC-Planes-B-25-Doolittle-Raid-70th-Anniversary-image018The 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.

 

 

 

 

Remembering and Reflecting on the Doolittle Tokyo Raid…

… 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.
Randy-RC-Planes-B-25-Doolittle-Raid-70th-Anniversary-image019(B-25H “Barbie III”) It was nice to hear those big sweet ol’ Wright radials “one more time!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Randy-RC-Planes-B-25-Doolittle-Raid-70th-Anniversary-image020Needless 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Closing Thoughts

Well folks! It is a departure from the norm of our posting RC Plane articles, photos, and videos; but this is important. Remembering our hero’s and our nation’s great planes is one of the primary reasons this hobby exists!

So…what are your thoughts?

Comment below with your story and reflection!

For the the larger scale gallery of these Birds. Look here!

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