Brigadier General James H. Doolittle
U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF), U.S. Air Force (USAF)
James Harold Doolittle was born on December 14, 1896 to parents Frank Halliard Doolittle and Rosa Cerenah (nee Shephard) Doolittle in Alameda. Nicknamed "Jimmy". Enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF).
On January 2, 1942 promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and assigned to Army Air Forces Headquarters to plan the first retaliatory air raid against Japan. He volunteered for and received General Hap H. Arnold's approval to lead the top secret raid to launch B-25 Mitchell medium bombers from a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier for a bombing mission against Japan. The pilots and aircrafts trained for the mission at Eglin Field and Wagner Field in northwest Florida.
On April 18, 1942 Doolittle led the "Doolittle Raid" piloting B-25B Mitchell 40-2344 the aircraft number one (no. 1) of sixteen bombers that took off from USS Hornet CV-8 on a bombing mission against targets in Japan including Tokyo, Kobe, Yokohama and Nagoya. Afterwards, the bombers proceeded westward and landed, ditched or crash landed in China. Afterwards, Doolittle viewed the raid as a failure because all the bombers were lost and the raid failed to cause any serious damage. On April 19, 1942, promoted two ranks to Brigadier General.
Medal of Honor
On May 19, 1942 at a White House ceremony, U. S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt bestows the Medal of Honor on General James H. Doolittle for his role leading the April 18, 1942 "Doolittle Raid" against Japan. The ceremony was also attended by General George C. Marshall, General Henry H. Arnold and his wife, Mrs. Doolittle with a photographer documenting the presentation.
Medal of Honor Citation (G.O. No.: 29, 9 June 1942)
"For conspicuous leadership above the call of duty, involving personal valor and intrepidity at an extreme hazard to life. With the apparent certainty of being forced to land in enemy territory or to perish at sea, General Doolittle personally led a squadron of Army bombers, manned by volunteer crews, in a highly destructive raid on the Japanese mainland."
In July 1942, General MacArthur rejected Doolittle as a replacement for Lt. General George H. Brett. In September 1942, he was assigned to the 12th Air Force (12th AF) in North Africa and promoted to to the rank of Major General two months later. Afterwards, took command of the 15th Air Force (15th AF) in the in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations and continued to fly combat missions occasionally. In January 1944 he took command of the 8th Air Force (8th AF) and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General.
Doolittle was the head of the "Doolittle Board" on the relationship between officers and enlisted men. In 1946 he retired from the U.S. Army to inactive reserve status then was transfered to the U.S. Air Force (USAF). In 1956, appointed chairman of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) until superseded by NASA. On February 28, 1959 he retired from the USAF and remained active in avation as the chairman of board of TRW Space Technology Laboratories. On April 4, 1985 he was promoted to the rank of four-star General in the U.S. Air Force by U.S. President Ronald Reagan.
Doolittle earned the Medal of Honor and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, two Distinguished Service Medals, the Silver Star, three Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Bronze Star Medal, four Air Medals, and decorations from Belgium, China, Ecuador, France, Great Britain, and Poland. He was the first American to be awarded both the Medal of Honor and the Medal of Freedom. He was appointed an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath.
Doolittle passed away September 27, 1993. On October 1, 1993 he was buried at Arlington National Cemetery at section 7A site 110.
General Doolittle's Report on Japanese Raid April 18, 1942
Franklin D. Roosevelt Day by Day - May 19th, 1942
"Presentation of Congressional Medal of Honor to Brig. Gen. James H. Doolittle (with pictures). Also present: Gen. George C. Marshall, Gen. Henry H. Arnold, Mrs. Doolittle."
- James H. Doolittle (grave photos)
FindAGrave - Jimmy Doolittle / James Harold Doolittle (photos, grave photo)
Col Henry A Potter (photos, grave photo)
AP "WWII era bombers fly over Doolittle Raiders memorial service" April 20, 2017