American Elephants

On the 18th of April in 1942, Clearly a Day for Courage. by The Elephant's Child
April 18, 2015, 2:41 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

screen_20060419103559_7doolittleraide-20060419Vice Admiral William F. Halsey’s task force of Enterprise and Hornet launched the first American naval coup of the war, with a bombing strike by army B-25 bombers on Tokyo. The raid was led by Lt. Colonel James H. Doolittle and put twelve bombers over Tokyo on the 18th of April in 1942, and three others who strayed in transit over Honshu cities. The deaths and damage of the raid were negligible, but truly shocking to the Japanese. None of the bombers fell to Japanese air defenses, although the Japanese later captured 9 aircrewmen (out of a total of 80 men) who had flown on to Chinese air fields or crash landed on the Asian mainland. The Japanese later tried and executed three aircrewmen for killing civilians, but five survived the war.

Today, only two of the airmen survive, both in their 90s. Seventy three years ago they took off from the deck of the USS Hornet. Retired Lt. Col. Richard “Dick” Cole, 99 and Staff Sgt. David Thatcher, 93, will toast their 78 absent comrades at a private event later today, after taking part in a ceremony at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force near Dayton, Ohio. They are presenting their Congressional Gold Medal to the museum.

Cole was Jimmy Doolittle’s co-pilot in plane No. 1 of the flight of 16. Thatcher was engineer-gunner aboard the 7th plane, the “Ruptured Duck”, whose crew’s crash-landing and evasion of Japanese troops in China was depicted in the movie “Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo.”The raid was a  huge shock to the Japanese people, but in credit to our codebreakers, we learned that the Japanese had advanced their plans for attacking Port Moresby, New Guinea, and Midway Island. The two naval battles at Coral Sea and the decisive Midway battle turned the tide of war in the Pacific.

This was the first time Army Air Force planes had ever been launched from a Navy Carrier.

(h/t: Rick Moran, American Thinker)


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