Friday, April 13, 2012

The Doolittle Raid...

April 18th, just a few days from now, is the 70th anniversary of Jimmy Doolittle's raid on Tokyo, in carrier-launched B-25 bombers.  This raid was a turning point in the war from the American perspective – the first time we hit back at the Japanese after their attack on Pearl Harbor and other Pacific targets.  The story of this raid is an incredible story of derring-do and ingenuity. 

This morning I was very surprised to read that five of the aviators on Doolittle's raid are still alive.  It's amazing that any of them survived the mission at all.  Many of the survivors had harrowing experiences after the raid: crash landings, shoot-downs, being taken prisoner, escaping through Japanese-held territory, grievous injuries.  Somehow I never expected that any of them would live into their 90s, but a few of them have.

The story of this raid was captured in a then-famous book (and subsequent movie) called Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, written by Captain Ted Lawson (one of the participants in the raid).  My parents had a copy of that book, and it happens to be the first first-person historical account I ever read.  It kindled a lifelong interest in reading history, and to this day especially of World War II...

No comments:

Post a Comment