Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Doolittle's Raiders

During World War II, Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle and a band of seventy-nine other airmen flew a top secret raid over Japan on January 2, 1942, less than a month after the attack on Pearl Harbor as a morale boosting maneuver.  They flew their B-25 bombers from an aircraft carrier, bombed Japan, and then ditched their planes in China.  They did not have enough fuel to make the return trip to the aircraft carrier, so they had to continue to China.  Seven men of the eighty airmen survived the raid and went on to fly again throughout the war.

After the war, the surviving members of "Doolittle's Raiders" held an annual reunion.  A donor made eighty silver goblets with the names of each of the eighty raiders engraved on both sides - one name facing toward the top of the goblet and the other name facing downward.  The cups facing up are the men that are still alive and the ones facing down are those that have died.  Once there are only two members of the Raiders still alive, they are to open the cognac bottle and have a toast to their comrades.  The goblets are housed at the Museum of the USAF in Dayton, Ohio.  As of our visit to the museum last week, four goblets remained in the upward position.

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