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Tribute to World War II Aviator General James H. “Jimmy” Doolittle
May 5, 2012
USS Hornet Museum and Jimmy Doolittle Air & Space Museum to Pay Tribute to World War II Aviator General James H. “Jimmy” Doolittle
Special commemoration to honor 70th Anniversary of Tokyo Aerial Attack
Surviving Doolittle Raiders will attend Tribute to share their memories
In conjunction with the 70th anniversary of the historic World War II aerial attack on Tokyo, a day-long tribute to Alameda-born and UC Berkeley graduate Gen. Jimmy Doolittle will take place at the USS Hornet Museum on May 5. The commemoration is a joint effort between the USS Hornet Museum in Alameda and The Jimmy Doolittle Air & Space Museum in Fairfield, CA. Special media availability will be held from 10:00 – 11 a.m.
Although best known for planning and leading the raid over Tokyo during WWII, Doolittle was also a leader in the advancement of aviation technology. Among his life’s accomplishments:
- Assisted in the development of the artificial horizon and directional gyroscopes.
- Flew the first transcontinental flight in less than 24 hours in a De Havilland DH-4 at age 26.
- Became the first pilot to fly an airplane relying solely on flight instruments.
- · Received his Bachelor’s of Arts from UC Berkeley and his Master’s and doctorate from MIT.
On April 18, 1942, then-Lieutenant Colonel Doolittle led his “Doolittle Raiders” on an aerial attack of Japan. The Army Air Forces squadron consisted of 16 B-25 bombers, which took off from the aircraft carrier, Hornet CV-8, the predecessor to the present-day Hornet.
Among the special guests paying tribute to Gen. Doolittle will be his son John P. Doolittle, retired Air Force Colonel and granddaughter Jonna Doolittle Hoppes, and three surviving members of the “Doolittle’s Raiders,” who will share their memories of Doolittle and the first-ever launch of Army bombers into combat off an aircraft carrier. Granddaughter Jonna Doolittle Hoppes and the Doolittle Raiders are available for interviews prior to and during the event.
Scheduled to attend:
JONNA DOOLITTLE HOPPES: Noted author and Doolittle’s granddaughter, Ms. Hoppes, will be giving a public presentation in the afternoon, after which she will sign her copies of her book Calculated Risk: The Extraordinary Life of Jimmy Doolittle. Ms. Hoppes is also the keynote speaker for the evening dinner event.
MAJOR THOMAS CARSON GRIFFIN (Navigator, Plane 9): Griffin was selected by Doolittle to go to the Pentagon to work on the maps to be used for the raid. Griffin was forced to bail out over China and was rescued by Chinese civilians and returned to duty.
Lt. Col. EDWARD JOSEPH SAYLOR (Engineer/gunner, Plane 15): While the squadron was being convoyed towards Japan on the Hornet CV-8, Saylor discovered that one of his plane’s engines had a serious problem. Knowing that the standing order was to push any nonfunctional plane overboard, he rounded up a Navy maintenance crew and together they removed and rebuilt the engine in time for takeoff. The plane carried the squadron’s only doctor, which could have made a critical difference to the mission.
S/sgt DAVID J. THATCHER (Engineer/gunner, Plane 7 – the famous “Ruptured Duck”): Thatcher saved and defended his crew after a near-fatal crash into the sea off the China coast. For his heroism, he was awarded the Silver Star. Following this mission, he served in North Africa and England until July 1945.
Other special speakers include crewmen from the Hornet CV-8, including:
LCDR RICHARD NOWATZKI: As a young seaman fresh out of boot camp, Nowatzki was assigned to the USS Hornet (CV-8) before it was commissioned and remained part of her crew until she was sunk in combat in October 1942. He will share his many fond memories of the Doolittle Raiders.
LTJG ORAL MOORE: Moore joined the Navy when he was 18 years old and was part of the original Hornet CV-8 crew. In April 1942, he watched as the 16 Army B-25’s were craned onto the ship’s flight deck and later watched as Lt. Col Jimmy Doolittle and his 79 Raiders took off on their secret mission.
Individuals involved with the Raiders in China, including:
Lt. Col. CHU CHEN: As a teenager he witnessed and was involved in the rescue of the Doolittle Raiders who were forced to bail-out of their planes on the night of April 18, 1942. He went on to join the Republic of China Air Force (ROCAF) and became a pilot in the elite Black Bat Squadron during the Cold War.
JOHN FU: Author and son of Lt. General Fu, Kei-Chin, Chinese Commander who was responsible for building 5 runways in China for the landing of the Doolittle Raider’s B-25’s on April 18, 1942. He is planning on giving a public presentation in the afternoon of his book Doolittle’s B-25 Raid in Chinese, in which he will present a summary in English. Fu is the director of “Allied, Republic of China Air Force Connection” project team and is organizing descendants of Chinese involved in the rescue/evacuation of all Raiders.
Following the aerial attack, most of the B-25 crewmen that went down in China made it to safety with the help of Chinese civilians. However, the Chinese paid dearly for their assistance, as the Japanese killed an estimated 250,000 civilians while searching for Doolittle’s men. Some of the descendants of the Chinese families who helped rescue the Doolittle Raiders are attending and speaking.
“We are extremely honored to be the host for this special tribute to Gen. Jimmy Doolittle,” said Randall Ramian, CEO of USS Hornet Museum. “This special event also provides an opportunity for people to learn about the role the first Hornet played in this historical event.”
The Hornet CV-8 was attacked and sunk just six months after the famous Doolittle mission. Its successor, the USS Hornet (Hornet CV-12) is now berthed in Alameda. The USS Hornet advanced its predecessor’s tradition of greatness – both in war and as the recovery ship for the Apollo 11 lunar mission – and today houses one of the Bay Area’s most famous military and space history museums.
“It has been 70 years since the air raid on Tokyo and we hope that a new generation will join us in remembering and learning about Jimmy Doolittle. He had a special connection to Northern California,” said Major General U.S. Air Force (Ret.) Thomas Kane, Executive Director of the Jimmy Doolittle Air & Space Museum. “We are very excited by the plans for a new museum in Solano County that will be dedicated in his honor. He was a true pioneer in aviation history.”
Schedule of Events:
- 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.: Press Conference with Doolittle Raiders, CV-8 Hornet Crewmembers, Jonna Hoppes Doolittle, John Doolittle and Chinese rescuers including Lt. Col. Chu Chen.
There will be a number of public events throughout the day, including:
- 1:10 p.m.: Presentation by David Styles (noted English historian and author)
- 1:50 p.m.: Book signing by David Styles (Two Flights to Victory)
- 2:00 p.m.: Presentation by Jonna Doolittle Hoppes
- 2:45 p.m.: Book signing by Jonna Doolittle Hoppes (Calculated Risk).
- Opportunity to meet Doolittle Raiders, CV-8 crewmen, and Doolittle family members at various times throughout the day.
There will also be a special fundraiser dinner from 5-8:30 p.m. Tickets are $100 per person, San Francisco Bay Area community can purchase their tickets by visiting: usshornet.stores.yahoo.net/trtojido.html and Solano community by visiting: www.jimmydoolittlemuseum.org.
- 4:30 – 5 p.m.: A thrilling 3 ship B-25 Fly-over is planned to begin the evening’s festivities.
- 5 – 8:30 p.m. The Jimmy Doolittle Tribute dinner is an inspiring, once-in-a-lifetime celebration of the remarkable life of aviation pioneer and medal-of-honor recipient Gen. James H. Doolittle. Joining keynote speaker, Jonna Doolittle Hoppes, will be John P. Doolittle, retired Air Force Colonel, surviving Doolittle Raiders and CV-8 Crewmembers, Lt. Col. Chu Chen, their families and many community leaders.
About the USS Hornet Museum: The USS Hornet Museum is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to inspiring people of all ages to experience the legacy of naval history, science, and space technology. A registered state and national historic landmark, the ship is permanently berthed at 707 W. Hornet Avenue, Pier 3 in Alameda, CA. The ship is open to the public daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Regular museum admission is $6-$15 for youths through adults and there is ample free parking across from the pier. For more information, visit www.uss-hornet.org or call (510) 521-8448.
About the Jimmy Doolittle Air and Space Museum: The Jimmy Doolittle Air and Space Museum Foundation, with its Education Museum Foundation, has launched a capital campaign to raise $34 million for a new, dynamic museum complex that brings the best of the original Travis Air Museum to Solano County. The new museum named Jimmy Doolittle Air & Space Museum will utilize historical, educational and technological resources to create exhibits and programs preserving our aviation heritage for all ages. The family of General James Doolittle have contributed artifacts and documents to the Museum collection to preserve the contributions of this American hero and aviator. For more information, visit www.jimmydoolittlemuseum.org.