WASHINGTON, D.C. — On the 70th Anniversary of the World War II bomber mission, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) introduced legislation today honoring the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders. In the first offensive action by the U.S. military following the attack on Pearl Harbor, 80 men—who became known as the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders—conducted a bombing mission against Tokyo and five other targets on the island of Honshu on April 18, 1942. The annual reunion of the surviving raiders will take place today in Dayton today. One of the five surviving veterans is Cincinnati-native Major Tom Griffin (USAF, Ret.).

“The bravery of the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders exemplifies our nation’s highest ideals and values,” Brown said. “On this day and every day, a grateful nation thanks these veterans for their selflessness and courage.”

Volunteering for an “extremely hazardous mission” without knowing the target, location, or assignment, the raiders—led by Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle—were forced to launch their airplanes 650 miles from their target.  After hitting their military and industrial targets in Tokyo and five other cities, low on fuel and in setting night and deteriorating weather, all 16 airplanes were forced to crash-land in China or Russia. Of the eight Raiders who were captured, three were executed, one died of disease, and four returned home. Their mission traveled an averaged distance of 2,250 nautical miles over a period of 13 hours, making is the longest combat mission ever flown in a B–25 Mitchell bomber.

The text of the resolution is below.

Whereas 80 brave American airmen volunteered for an “extremely hazardous mission” without knowing the target, location, or assignment and willingly put their lives in harm’s way, risking death, capture, and torture;

 

Whereas the mission was the first offensive action by the United States military following the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941;

 

Whereas the Doolittle Raid represented the first time in which the Army Air Corps and the Navy collaborated in a tactical mission by flying 16 Army B–25 medium bombers off of the USS Hornet;

 

Whereas the flying of bombers from a Navy carrier had never been done before, making the mission extremely hazardous from the very start;

 

Whereas after encountering Japanese picket ships 170 miles from the prearranged launch point, the Raiders, led by Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle, proceeded to launch 650 miles from the target of Tokyo;

 

Whereas by launching more than 170 miles early the Raiders deliberately accepted the risk that the B–25s might not have enough fuel to make it beyond the Japanese lines in occupied China;

 

Whereas the additional risk virtually sealed the fate of the Raiders to crash land in China or on the home islands of Japan, subjecting them to imprisonment, torture, or death;

 

Whereas because of that deliberate choice, after hitting their military and industrial targets in Tokyo and five other cities on the island of Honshu, low on fuel and in setting night and deteriorating weather, none of the 16 airplanes reached the prearranged Chinese airfields;

 

Whereas the total distance traveled averaged 2,250 nautical miles over a period of 13 hours is the longest combat mission ever flown in a B–25 Mitchell bomber;

 

Whereas of the 8 Raiders who were captured, 3 were executed, 1 died of disease, and 4 came home; and

 

Whereas, the Doolittle Raid led the fight for the eventual victory of the United States in the Second World War: Now, therefore, be it

 

Resolved, That the Senate—

 

commends the 5 living members and 80 original members of the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders for their participation in the Tokyo bombing raid of April 18, 1942; and

 

recognizes the valor, skill, and courage of the Raiders that proved invaluable to the eventual defeat of Japan during the Second World War; and

 

acknowledges that the actions of the Raiders helped to forge an enduring example of heroism in the face of uncertainty for the Army Air Corps of the Second World War, the future of the Air Force, and the United States as a whole.

 

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