World War II in the News is a review of WWII articles providing thought-provoking collection of hand-picked WW2 information.

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Doolittle Raid

Doolittle Raid: Stories and the last Doolittle raiders.
Latest hand-picked WWII news.

Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo – 12 Amazing Facts About the Doolittle Raid
Command of the raid was given to, James Doolittle, a veteran army barnstormer. The 45-year-old, who was called by some the `the Babe Ruth of flyboys,` first made a name for himself in 1922 by piloting a WW1-era De Havilland bomber from Jacksonville, Florida to San Diego, California. The record breaking 2,000-mile hop lasted 21 hours and 19 minutes and earned Doolittle the Distinguished Flying Cross. Later he`d help pioneer instrument flying and would make history by performing aviation`s first outside loop. After being tapped for the mission, Doolittle assembled 24 bomber crews to fly the classified mission.

Edward Saylor, 1 of 4 Remaining World War II Doolittle Raiders, dies at 94
Lt. Col. Edward Saylor, one of four surviving Doolittle Raiders who attacked Japan during a daring 1942 mission credited with lifting American morale during World War II, has died. He was 94. He was a young flight engineer-gunner and among the 80 airmen who volunteered to fly the risky mission that sent B-25 bombers from a carrier at sea to attack Tokyo on April 18, 1942. The raid launched earlier than planned and risked running out of fuel before making it to safe airfields. `It was what you do … over time, we`ve been told what effect our raid had on the war and the morale of the people,` Saylor told in a 2013 interview.

Doolittle Raid facts: Little military damage, but it boosted American morale while stunning the Japanese
Commanded by Lt. Col. James H. "Jimmy" Doolittle, 16 land-based B-25 bombers with crews of 5 men each launch from an aircraft carrier. Modified to maximize fuel capacity, the planes would drop their payloads on a variety of strategic targets on Japan, then head to friendly air bases in China. But they were spotted and launched earlier and farther out than planned - all but one crash-landed or was ditched off China's coast. 8 Raiders were captured. 3 were executed, a fourth died in captivity. 3 were killed trying to reach China, and 10 more were killed in later war action.

The last five survivors recall Doolittle's daring sortie over Japan (long article)
The five remaining survivors of the raid led by Lt. Col. James H. "Jimmy" Doolittle recognize their prominent place in history. Nothing like it had ever been done before. But faced with an enemy that already had proved its ability to strike the U.S. homeland, 80 brave men volunteered for a suicide mission to satisfy a burning desire for revenge. Unable to carry enough fuel for a round trip, Doolittle and his men planned to drop their bombs on Tokyo and several other Japanese cities and make a quick escape toward China, a U.S. ally. Edward Saylor still remembers the Chinese boy who helped save his life after his plane crashed into the waters just off China's coast.

Last surviving Doolittle Raiders reunite in Ashland, Nebraska
The five surviving airmen of a famous group of World War II pilots reunited in Ashland, Nebraska. "I remember we were just a bunch of young people that answered the call. The raiders don't like to be singled out. We were just part of the big effort. Allies to take on the enemy," explained Dick Cole.

Colonel Bill Bower, the last Doolittle Raid pilot, passes away at 93
Colonel William Marsh "Bill" Bower was one of the pilots in the first American air raid on the Japanese Home Islands after the attack on Pearl Harbor. On April 18, 1942, 16 B25B Mitchell bombers took off from the USS Hornet in the western Pacific Ocean. After delivering their cargo over Japan the pilots continued toward China. Most planes crashed in China or were ditched at sea. Of the 80 crew members, 11 were captured or killed - the rest returned to the US, Bower being one of them, assuming command of the 428th Bombardment Squadron.

Doolittle Raiders reunion set for Dallas area
A reunion of the B-25 crews that raided the Japanese mainland in April 1942 will be held April 16-20 at Frontiers of Flight Museum at Love Field in Dallas, where the Doolittle Raiders has special meaning, since dozen of the 79 fliers trained at Barksdale Army Air Field. Of the 11 Raiders still living Charles J. Ozuk and Frank A. Kappeler were trained at Barksdale. Due to fears a Japanese picket boat had alarmed Tokyo, 16 B-25 Mitchell bombers launched hundreds of miles farther out than originally planned, meaning the airplanes had to crash land in China over enemy-held territory.

Jacob DeShazer was bombardier on Doolittle Raid, WWII POW
Jacob DeShazer, a bombardier in the Doolittle raid who spent 40 months as a POW, then became a missionary in Japan spreading a message of forgiveness, passed away at 95. He was among the crew of Bat Out of Hell, the last bomber to depart the Hornet. His plane dropped incendiary bombs on an oil installation and a factory in Nagoya but it ran out of fuel before reaching an airfield held by America’s Chinese allies. The 5 crewmen bailed out over Japanese-occupied territory and were captured. In Oct. 1942, a firing squad executed the pilot Lt. William G. Farrow, and the engineer-gunner Sgt. Harold A. Spatz.

The Doolittle Raid: Navigator tells of America's first WWII victory
Frank Kappeler is one of a handful of survivors of the Doolittle Raid that bombed Japan, a top-secret mission that was America's first victory in World War II. The raid, just over 4 months after Pearl Harbor, electrified the US, which had suffered defeats in the Pacific. And it humiliated the Japanese, who thought their homeland was invulnerable. ... One day, some officers came to the base. "They said they were looking for volunteers for a very dangerous mission. They said there was only a 50-50 chance of surviving. ... He told us we would fly B-25s and take off on a runway only 400 feet long. Most pilots said they never heard of such a thing..."

Air Force Lt. Col. Chase J. Nielsen of the Tokyo Doolittle Raiders
One of Utah's greatest World War II heroes, Air Force Lt. Col. Chase J. Nielsen of the Tokyo Doolittle Raiders, passed away. In 1942 he became the navigator of one of the 16 B-52 bombers chosen to strike at Japan. The dangerous raid, led by Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle, was the first to hit Japan after that country's surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. The raid gave American morale a much-needed boost when the war had been going badly, and it forced Japan to divert forces to protect the mainland. That reduced the forces opposing Americans who were fighting their way across the Pacific.

General Doolittle led the first U.S. air strike against Japan   (Article no longer available from the original source)
Book examines the life of General James Doolittle who led the first U.S. air strike against Japan in 1942. He was a military and aviation legend who was the first to fly across the U.S. in less than 24 hours, became a four-star general, won the Medal of Honor and was commander of the 12th, 15th and 8th Air Forces during WWII. The Doolittle Raid: On April 18, 1942, he led 16 Army B-25 bombers off the deck of the USS Hornet on a bombing attack of Japan. The bombers crash-landed or were forced to ditch in Russia, China and in the ocean. 3 died in the immediate aftermath. 8 were captured by the Japanese. The crew in Russia were held prisoner until escaping.