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The Greatest Generation

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71 years ago this morning a small group of brave warriors climbed into their heavily fueled North American B-25 bombers. All knowing that it was most likely they would not be coming home. The strike was launched sooner then planned and 600+ miles further out to sea due to an encounter with with a Japanese fishing trawler (it was sunk and not determined if it had gotten a message out).


The deck of the USS Hornet pitched up and down in the rough seas as the strike group headed West across the Pacific with an impending storm off her bow.


Col James Doolittle in the lead bomber, timed the pitch of the waves as the deck dropped up and down, standing on the brakes and advancing the throttles on the two big Pratt and Whitney radial engines to full power.


Releasing the brakes Doolittle started his short take off run as the deck pitched down and into a 4o kt head wind, as the deck pitched up the big bomber struggled into the air and seemed to hang there, I suspect the stall warning horn screaming in the cockpit.


Doolittle retracted the gear and raised the flaps building the bombers airspeed as the flew toward Japan, the rest of the strike force following leaning the mixtures and calculating their fuel burn.


The aviators completed their mission bombing Japan in the first US strike against the enemy a little over four months after the attack on Pearl Harbor.


None of the aircraft made it to their landing point in China, most of the aviators made it back.


The Doolittle Raiders held their final reunion last week, 3 out of the 4 surviving Raiders were in attendance and flown in in grand style aboard restored B-25's.


When you pour a dram of whiskey this evening, please raise a glass to these amazing men and celebrate the American spirit of doing something that most said could not be done.



Tail winds Gentlemen and thank you!


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Well said.


I have my Dad's bombardier wings framed and mounted on the wall; it's my prize possession.

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I will raise at least one glass in their honor tonight. Imagine the cojones it took to release the brakes on those things knowing they had a full bomb and fuel load! That doesn't even count knowing that they couldn't make it to a runway after they dropped the bombs.


Thanks for posting this.





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Incredibly inspiring act in a truly dark time.


I used to watch "30 Seconds Over Tokyo" every time it came on when I was a kid.


I was always wanting to be either a Doolittle raider or a Flying Tiger.

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