Four of the surviving nine Doolittle Raiders are in Columbia, SC, this weekend to celebrate the 67th anniversary reunion of their bombing raid on Tokyo.
The reunion, sponsored by the Celebrate Freedom Foundation, honors the men who participated in the most famous air raid in American history who, on April 18, 1942, flew their B-25B bombers off a Navy aircraft carrier and bombed Japan just four months after Pearl Harbor. Part of the Raiders’ training was completed in Columbia.
The raid gave American morale a much-needed boost at a time when victories were in short supply. It also proved that the Japanese mainland was vulnerable to an American air attack.
The raid was planned and led by Lt. Col. James Doolittle and involved 16 bombers being launched from the USS Hornet.
All the aircraft were lost and 11 crewmen were either killed or captured. The crews of 14 aircraft, in their entirety returned safely to the United States or to Allied control, according to Wikipedia.
Interestingly, Doolittle thought that the raid had been a terrible failure because the aircraft were lost, and that he would be court-martialed upon his return.