The five surviving members of the Doolittle Raid gathered earlier this month in Nebraska for the raider’s annual reunion on the eve of the raid’s 69th anniversary. These airmen have come together every year since 1947 to commemorate their daring attack on Tokyo on April 18, 1942, with 16 carrier-launched B-25 bombers under the command of then-Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle. Present were: retired Lt. Col. Richard Cole, co-pilot on aircraft No. 1; retired Lt. Col. Bob Hite, co-pilot on aircraft No. 16; retired Lt. Col. Edward Saylor, engineer on aircraft No. 15; retired Maj. Thomas Griffin, navigator on aircraft No. 9; and retired MSgt. David Thatcher, engineer-gunner on aircraft No. 7. Events during the April 14-17 reunion took them to Lincoln, Omaha, and Offutt Air Force Base. The raiders also held their traditional goblet ceremony to toast their colleagues who have died since their last meeting. (Offutt report by Ryan Hansen) (For more on the historic mission, read Doolittle’s Raid from Air Force Magazine’s archives.)
Boeing’s receipt of the 10th lot contract award for the KC-46 Pegasus this week leaves just three lots left to complete the Air Force’s buy of the tanker, although a further buy of 75 additional aircraft as a “bridge” to the Next-Generation Aerial-refueling System (NGAS) seems increasingly likely.