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Fri, Apr 13, 2012

Special Commemoration Planned To Honor 70th Anniversary Of Tokyo Aerial Attack

USS Hornet Museum, Jimmy Doolittle Air & Space Museum Pay Tribute To General James H. "Jimmy" Doolittle

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.

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. 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.

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.

"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."

FMI: www.uss-hornet.org, www.jimmydoolittlemuseum.org

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