Thursday, April 26, 2012

Guest Blog: Aloha to the Doolittle Raiders

During the RT Booklovers' Convention, I met up with another RomVet, Jo Anne Pinney. She kindly took my book boxes back to Dayton to mail for me. While Jo Anne was in Dayton, she popped over to the National Museum of the Air Force for a special event - the 70th Anniversary of the Doolittle Raid. She prepared a special post ....

The Doolittle Raiders have always held a special place in my heart. When I was applying to enter the US Air Force Academy in 1983 and wasn’t accepted the first time around, I received a scholarship from the Falcon Foundation to attend Northwestern Prep School. That scholarship was in honor of James Doolittle. So, it was a neat coincidence for me that the dates for my short trip to Dayton to check on a rental property in April 2012 lined up perfectly with the US Air Force National Museum’s celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Doolittle raid.

On April 18, 1942, four months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, 80 airmen led by Lt Col James H. Doolittle took off in sixteen B-25 bombers from the aircraft carrier, USS Hornet, on a classified mission to bomb Japan. The mission was dangerous from the start, as the B-25s did not have the range to return to the carrier. So, the plan was to take off 400 miles from Japan, conduct the bombing mission and then land at airfields in China. On the day of the mission, however, the carrier encountered enemy picket boats further east than expected. Although the boats were evaded or sunk, they were able to get out radio warnings back to Japan. The B-25s had to take off further out than planned, more than 600 miles from Japan. After the bombing, none of the aircraft made it to China; but, all but a few airmen survived. This daring raid did not cause much damage to Japan, but it caused great embarrassment to the Japanese government and had great impact on the morale of the Japanese people.

Five of those original airmen still survive and four were able to participate in the activities at Wright-Patterson AFB, sponsored by the Air Force Museum. The activities included an impressive line-up of twenty B-25 Mitchell bombers on static display for the public to see. They were stunning! I’m grateful to organizations such as the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders Association and the Commemorative Air Force who keep these old beauties flying. The museum had arranged for the public to have access to staircase trucks to get a birds-eye view of the Mitchells.

While I was out by the static displays, I managed to be in the right place at the right time when the four surviving Raiders rode by in golf carts on a tour of the aircraft. They looked fit and sharp – it was truly special to get to see these legends.

The next day, the public was treated to a mini airshow at the museum’s airstrip. The B-25s started taking off at 12:15 pm, formed up, and then flew two scheduled fly-by’sat 1pm over Wright-Patt field. Cars had pulled over wherever they could on the side of the road to view and photograph this amazing spectacle. The day was perfect, and the roar of the engines and the beauty of these aircraft made it a truly emotional event. What I thought was going to be a ho-hum trip to Dayton ended up being pretty special. What a lucky coincidence.

Mahalo, Jo Anne for the post and the pictures!  I have goosebumps from reading about this one-in-a-lifetime experience.   To learn more about Jo Anne, check out her social media:

Jo Anne Pinney writing as Lacey Falcone
Follow me on twitter @LaceyFalcone and 
on Pinterest Lacey Falcone
Coming soon:

I am giving away a book choice for my convention stash to one randomly selected commenter from this week's blogs.  To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about a "war" hero you admire - any country, any conflict.

2.  This giveaway is open to all readers.

3.  Comments are open through Saturday, April 28, 10 pm in Hawaii.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, April 29.


Kim in Hawaii 


  1. I admire Pat Tillman. I learned a lot about what inspired him to join the military and the questions surrounding his death in a documentary.

  2. I admire the ones who are unsung. There are so many out there that just by being there are heroes.

  3. My own personal war hero will always be Dad. He (and each of his 4 brothers) served in WWII. Dad served under Gen. Patton in North Africa, and earned the Soldier's Medal for non-combat heroism. He served throughout Europe and returned home after the war's end. He continued to serve, as a police officer in his home town. He's been gone for almost 5 years. I still feel grateful and a bit emotional whenever I see photos of WWII veterans. I am so proud of Dad's service. Thanks for a wonderful column.

  4. I have to totally agree with Debby!

  5. My uncle Jack was in the Vietnam War and after he retired he told us stories of the guys he formed friendships with and saw how people could do such heroic things in the face of dangerous situations. My heroes are all those people who did heroic things that no one ever knew about.

  6. Jo Anne,
    Wonderful recant of the Doolittle Raiders, and their amazing history. Thoroughly enjoyed your write up and photos. Kim, sounds like you and Jo Anne had a fabulous time at RT! I'm officially jealous. :) My sincere thanks to you both for sharing the story of Doolittle's Raid. *Hugs*
    God bless,

    Diana Cosby, AGC(AW), USN, RomVet

  7. The first name that came to mind is Audie Murphy. But then, I do agree with Debby, too.

  8. I agree with Debby, too. My dad was one of them. He enlisted in WWII. He was either 28 or 29 and was the only child of his widowed mother. He didn't have to go but he did what he felt he had to do.

  9. I think any man or woman that serves is a hero. They serve with sacrafices no matter if they deploy or not. Time away from their families and those that do deploy are warriors of the highest standing. Repeated deployments away from their families, sort of makes the families heroes too. Thanks for sharing the great information on the Doolittle Raiders it sounds fascinating.

  10. Anyone that goes out and fights, that stands up for what they believe in, who helps others; there all heros in my book. Each one is special and i cant pick a favorite.

  11. I admire all of them.


  12. they are great heros
    thansk for the pic

  13. I think that every soldier is my Hero. To serve their county and put their lives in jeopardy everyday. My Dad who served in WWll in the Philippines and both of my sons who are career Army.
    Loved the post and the pictures Joanne provided.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (do) com