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3345roc
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Posted on Thu, Mar 13, 2014 06:52

After Japan's sneak attack on Pearl Harbor , with the United States reeling and wounded, something dramatic was needed to turn the war effort around. 


Even though there were no friendly airfields close enough to Japan for the United States to launch a retaliation, a daring plan was devised. Sixteen B-25s were modified so that they could take off from the deck of an aircraft carrier. This had never before been tried -- sending such big, heavy bombers from a carrier.
 
The 16 five-man crews, under the command of Lt. Col. James Doolittle, who himself flew the lead plane off the USS Hornet, knew that they would not be able to return to the carrier. They would have to hit Japan and then hope to make it to China for a safe landing.
 
But on the day of the raid, the Japanese military caught wind of the plan. The Raiders were told that they would have to take off from much farther out in the Pacific Ocean than they had counted on. They were told that because of this they would not have enough fuel to make it to safety.  And those men went anyway. 
 
They bombed Tokyo , and then flew as far as they could. Four planes crash-landed; 11 more crews bailed out, and three of the Raiders died. Eight more were captured; three were executed. 
Another died of starvation in a Japanese prison camp. One crew made it to Russia .
 
The Doolittle Raid sent a message from the United States to its enemies, and to the rest of the world: We will fight. And, no matter what it takes, we will win.   Of the 80 Raiders, 62 survived the war. They were celebrated as national heroes, models of bravery. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer produced a motion picture based on the raid; "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo," starring Spencer Tracy and Van Johnson, was a patriotic and emotional box-office hit, and the phrase became part of the national lexicon. In the movie-theater previews for the film, MGM proclaimed that it was presenting the story "with supreme pride."
 
Beginning in 1946, the surviving Raiders have held a reunion each April, to commemorate the mission. The reunion is in a different city each year. In 1959, the city of Tucson , Arizona , as a gesture of respect and gratitude, presented the Doolittle Raiders with a set of 80 silver goblets. Each goblet was engraved with the name of a Raider.  Every year, a wooden display case bearing all 80 goblets is transported to the reunion city. Each time a Raider passes away, his goblet is turned upside down in the case at the next reunion, as his old friends bear solemn witness.
 
Also in the wooden case is a bottle of 1896 Hennessy Very Special cognac. The year is not happenstance: 1896 was when Jimmy Doolittle was born.  There has always been a plan: When there are only two surviving Raiders, they would open the bottle, at last drink from it, and toast their comrades who preceded them in death.

As 2013 began, there were five living Raiders; then, in February,
Tom Griffin passed away at age 96. 
What a man he was. After bailing out of his plane over a mountainous Chinese forest after the Tokyo raid, he became ill with malaria, and almost died. When he recovered, he was sent to Europe to fly more combat missions. He was shot down, captured, and spent 22 months in a German prisoner of war camp.

The selflessness of these men, the sheer guts ... there was a passage in the Cincinnati Enquirer obituary for Mr. Griffin that, on the surface, had nothing to do with the war, but that emblematizes the depth of his sense of duty and devotion:  "When his wife became ill and needed to go into a nursing home, he visited her every day. He walked from his house to the nursing home, fed his wife and at the end of the day brought home her clothes. At night, he washed and ironed her clothes. Then he walked them up to her room the next morning. He did that for three years until her death in 2005."

So now, out of the original 80, only four Raiders remain: Dick Cole (Doolittle's co-pilot on the Tokyo raid), Robert Hite, Edward Saylor and David Thatcher. All are in their 90s. They have decided that there are too few of them for the public reunions to continue. The events in Fort Walton Beach marked the end. It has come full circle; Florida 's nearby Eglin Field was where the Raiders trained in secrecy for the Tokyo mission. The town planned to do all it can to honor the men: a six-day celebration of their valor, including luncheons, a dinner and a parade.



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wwww12345
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Posted on Wed, Mar 19, 2014 11:21

We will never again see the likes of our WWII GI's..  They were something else and the current generations just don't have it..



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3345roc
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Posted on Mon, Mar 17, 2014 07:47

You were lucky to have met one of those unsung heroes.  They lived in a time when action spoke louder than words.  It seems things have flip flopped, now we get a lot of talk and very little action but thank God for those brave souls that serve in today's military.


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fishyme
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Posted on Sun, Mar 16, 2014 21:13

@ roc,That's a great painting, thank you. I don't remember the Veterans name but I can just picture him there by the tire. I will always remember the pride in his eyes.

 

 

  One plane wouldn't start, devastated, the crew had to sit and watch the other bombers take off and fly away. They said every prayer they knew in those few minutes. Their batteries had enough power to turn the engine over one  last revolution, it started. The other one started and they soon joined the rest of the flight.

 

 

  80 men knowing full well they were flying into certain death.

 

 

  I don't want to be tested but should life put me there I only ask of myself that I pass.



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3345roc
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Posted on Sun, Mar 16, 2014 18:22

You're welcome L... the unsung heroes


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MizzSunShineHere
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Posted on Sun, Mar 16, 2014 10:44

Thanks for the post! :-)



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3345roc
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Posted on Sat, Mar 15, 2014 12:58

They were heroes....


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3345roc
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Posted on Fri, Mar 14, 2014 14:21

Quoting Jenkneee:

Thank-you for repeating the story. I am going to have to watch that movie now. We need to never forget our heroes.



My earliest recollection as a kid was seeing my uncles in uniform.  They were all heroes in my eyes.  I have faint memories of my Uncle Zary walking down the street in his bell bottoms and white sailor cap.  He was a radioman in the Navy and he used to make airplanes for me out of the cardboard center of toilet paper rolls.  He was killed in Guam and I don't think I understood what that really meant.

 

They were the Greatest Generation.  They gave their all and expected nothing in return and rarely talked about what they experienced.

 

@ Dak... One of my daughter's good friends is married to a guy who was an Investment Banker in the WTC.  He wasn't at work on 911.  He lost many friends and quit his job and enlisted shortly thereafter.  He's a Staff Sgt. in a Ranger Battalion and serving his 3rd deployment in Afghanistan.  He's fed up and will resign when he comes home.  He has no respect for our leadership.  I doubt there's any help for those who've been brainwashed but I worry about the one's who haven't been because they lack a brain and are happy as clams as long as they get their handout.

 

@Fishy... This one's for you...

 

 


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Jenkneee
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Posted on Fri, Mar 14, 2014 13:14

Thank-you for repeating the story. I am going to have to watch that movie now. We need to never forget our heroes.



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Dakota35
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Posted on Fri, Mar 14, 2014 09:41

I wonder how these remaining 4 men feel about the direction of America and it's leadership.

 

I can tell you without doubt the number 1 enemy to the US is our leaders and the brain washed people that vote them in, and don't hold them accountable.



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fishyme
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Posted on Thu, Mar 13, 2014 23:10

  When you watch the film footage of Col. Doolittle taking off, I meet the man who pulled the left chock of Col. Doolittles plane. He is Proud! to have been part of that raid. After the planes left their ship turned and headed back to the war.

 

 

  We meet at a VA Clinic in Anchorage. He lives in Glen Allen [real cold country] and only talked for a few minutes. He didn't feel any need to be treated special, he was doing his job, just like the man on his left and just like the man on his right. Our greatest generation is Proud to earn the feeling of being Proud in the eyes of those they serve with. He was in 4 years of war in the Navy, all over the place and not much of it nice. His name was called and he wished me well. I thanked him for helping give us our country, we shook hands and off limped this old guy who was Proud. Just like the man on his lift and the man on his right.

 

 

  I'll always remember meeting this old Salty Dawg, and anytime I watch Col. Doolittle and the other bombers taking off on that ony way bombing run to the homeland of Japan I'll know that I meet the guy who pulled his left chock.

 

 

  There is a country song that goes something like this " You gave us a big black eye, we lit you up like the 4th of July". No matter what anyone may think, right or wrong, good or bad, yes or no. America is a voluntary Armed Forces for the last 14 years of war because somebody else wanted to start a fight. The great grandchildren of our World War 2 era are showing they learned from their elders well.

 

 

 

       ​        ​        ​        ​        ​        ​      No matter what it takes, we will win!



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