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Monday, May 17, 2010

Doolittle Raiders, 68th Anniversary

Yes, I have not been blogging.  My brother-in-law and his wife were in for the weekend and we were off seeing things and people.

Today, in the EMail, I received this link to a five and a half minute video of this years reunion of the Doolittle Raiders.  This video is about the still surviving B-25's that gathered as part of the event.

Only eight of Doolittle's raiders are still alive. Last month, four of them—retired Lt. Col. Richard E. Cole, 94; Maj. Thomas C. Griffin, 92; Lt. Col. Robert L. Hite, 90; and Master Sgt. David J. Thatcher, 88—traveled to Wright-Patterson AFB, in Ohio, to mark the 68th anniversary of the raid.  So did 17 still-flying B-25 Mitchell bombers.  Those bombers sounded very cool.

I was looking at the video to see if I could see my daughter's house or my granddaughter's but they were just outside the view of the camera in the B-25 PACIFIC PRINCESS.

The raid was more than a stunt.  It boosted morale back in the US and it caught the attention of the Japanese and caused them to change some of the things they were doing, including curtailing an aggressive move into the Indian Ocean.  It also encouraged Admiral Yamamoto in his plan to attack US forces on Midway Island, a move that resulted in the loss of four Japanese aircraft carries (to one for the US) and marked the turning point in the war in the Pacific.

Regards  —  Cliff

1 comment:

ncrossland said...

These are important legacies that are being lost in the dust of history. I think that most "modern" folks focus only on the military nature of the storied operations in WWII (and other wars as be fair), but in so many ways, it was much more about character and integrity, duty and honor.

My Father's Theta Chi fraternity brother was a chap by the name of Ross Greening, one of the raider pilots. I was priviledged to meet this fellow during the late 50's and was deeply impressed by him as a person. Of course, he had some great stories to tell. Several years later, having pledged Theta Chi, I was assigned to the same study room in the house that was used by Ross Greening (which incidentally was used before by another legacy, Edward R. Murrow). I could feel the ghosts in that room.

Only a few years ago, with the opening of the movie, The Great Raid, I discovered that for years on an almost weekly basis, I had rubbed elbows with a genuine SOF hero of the day, Bob Prince who as a young captain Ranger led the raid into Cabanatuan to liberate the Bataan Death March prisoners. He never talked about it much and seemed almost embarassed to discuss it at any length today.

Finally, one of my greatest thrills was to sit at the knee of my brother's father-in-law, Ken Jernstedt and listen to his exploits as one of the original AVG Flying Tigers. He even has the original leather flying jacket from those incredible days.

I feel incredibly blessed to have been exposed to men who, in our time....are larger than life with many lessons to pass on to us.