At 8:20am on April 18, 1942, just four months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, a small force of B-25 Mitchell bombers under the command of Colonel Jimmy Doolittle, took off from the heaving deck of the aircraft carrier Hornet. Unlike any other mission before or since, the crews departed on their dangerous journey with the full knowledge that each was on a one-way ticket.
The mission assignment was to make a strike at the heart of Imperial Japan, panic the high command into diverting men and machines from offensive to defensive duties, and to give an America still reeling from Pearl Harbor, a massive boost in morale. They achieved all of these, and in so doing effected what became one of the most remarkable air raids of World War II.
The sixteen-ship mission's orders were precise: At low-level, fly some 800 miles over water into hostile territory, without escort fend off attacks from air and ground fire over the target then, with insufficient fuel to make the return journey, fly the B-25s on towards China until the gas ran out. Then bail out, ditch, or crash-land, avoid capture, and somehow find a way home.
Every man was a volunteer. Each knew the dangers. Some paid with their lives.
Owner: Barbi Ennis Connolly
Size: 39 items