Commemorating the historic Doolittle Raid, 18 April 1942
On 7 December 1941 Japan stunned the world by launching a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Just four months later, on 18 April 1942, 16 U.S. Army Air Force B-25 Mitchell bombers made a daring, retaliatory raid on Tokyo – the first Allied strike on the heart of Imperial Japan. Launching in heavy seas from the carrier USS Hornet, Lt. Col. James H. Doolittle led his strike force for hundreds of miles across open water to attack military and industrial targets in as many cities as possible, with the capital Tokyo high on the list.
All sixteen bombers made it to Japan and successfully bombed their targets without loss. Knowing they had insufficient fuel to return, and with one plane so low on fuel that the crew decided to head for Vladivostok in Russia where they were interned, the rest flew on to crash-land in China. Most survived to fly and fight again, and Lt. Col. Doolittle was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his part in planning and leading one of the most audacious raids in the history of air combat.