Thirty Seconds over Dayton

One of the largest gatherings of B-25 Mitchell bombers assembled since World War II will mark the 70th anniversary of the daring Doolittle bombing raid on Tokyo during commemoration events in Dayton, Ohio, next Wednesday, according to event organizers. The National Museum of the US Air Force plans to reopen a normally closed runway specifically for the B-25s to take off from one-by-one and then fly in formation over the Dayton area and the museum just prior to the Doolittle Raiders’ memorial service at the museum. Twenty-one B-25s are expected to participate. Eighty airmen in 16 B-25s took off from deck of the USS Hornet on April 18, 1942, in the surprise raid that struck a symbolic blow to Japan and buoyed American morale at a crucial time early in the war. The five surviving Doolittle Raiders are expected to attend the memorial service and other reunion events. They are (each retired): Lt. Col. Richard Cole, Lt. Col. Robert Hite, Lt. Col. Edward Saylor, Maj. Thomas Griffin and SSgt. David Thatcher. (Dayton report by Rob Bardua; see also Bardua’s second report.) (See also museum’s reunion webpage for updates.)