Remembering True Sacrifice: The Doolittle Raiders (thanks)

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posted on Sep, 26 2013 @ 08:18 PM
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This was sent to me by my children's grandfather. It speaks to the time when men were ready to die for their country, all odds against them. When our military might was not what it is today, and when we weren't "supposed" to win. In memory of the Doolittle Raiders:


It's the cup of brandy that no one wants to drink.

On Tuesday, in Fort Walton Beach , Florida , the surviving Doolittle Raiders gathered publicly for the last time.

They once were among the most universally admired and revered men in the United States . There were 80 of the Raiders in April 1942,when they carried out one of the most courageous and heart-stirring military operations in this nation's history. The mere mention of their unit's name, in those years, would bring tears to the eyes of grateful Americans.





Now only four survive.

After Japan 's sneak attack on Pearl Harbor , with the United States reeling and wounded, something dramatic was needed to turn the war effort around.

Even though there were no friendly airfields close enough to Japan for the United States to launch a retaliation, a daring plan was devised. Sixteen B-25s were modified so that they could take off from the deck of an aircraft carrier. This had never before been tried -- sending such big, heavy bombers from a carrier.



The 16 five-man crews, under the command of Lt. Col. James Doolittle, who himself flew the lead plane off the USS Hornet knew that they would not be able to return to the carrier.

They would have to hit Japan and then hope to make it to China for a safe landing.

But on the day of the raid, the Japanese military caught wind of the plan. The Raiders were told that they would have to take off from much farther out in the Pacific Ocean than they had counted on. They were told that because of this they would not have enough fuel to make it to safety.

And those men went anyway.



They bombed Tokyo , and then flew as far as they could. Four planes crash-landed; 11 more crews bailed out, and three of the Raiders died. Eight more were captured; three were executed. Another died of starvation in a Japanese prison camp. One crew made it to Russia .






The Doolittle Raid sent a message from the United States to its enemies, and to the rest of the world: We will fight. And, no matter what it takes, we will win.

Of the 80 Raiders, 62 survived the war. They were celebrated as national heroes, models of bravery. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer produced a motion picture based on the raid; "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo" starring Spencer Tracy and Van Johnson, was a patriotic and emotional box-office hit, and the phrase became part of the
national lexicon. In the movie-theater previews for the film, MGM proclaimed that it was presenting the story "with supreme pride."





Beginning in 1946, the surviving Raiders have held a reunion each April, to commemorate the mission. The reunion is in a different city each year. In 1959, the city of Tucson , Arizona , as a gesture of respect and gratitude, presented the Doolittle Raiders with a set of 80 silver goblets. Each goblet was engraved with the name of a Raider.




Every year, a wooden display case bearing all 80 goblets is transported to the reunion city. Each time a Raider passes away, his goblet is turned upside down in the case at the next reunion, as his old friends bear solemn witness.




Also in the wooden case is a bottle of 1896 Hennessy Very Special cognac. The year is not happenstance: 1896 was when Jimmy Doolittle was born.

There has always been a plan: When there are only two surviving Raiders, they would open the bottle, at last drink from it, and toast their comrades who preceded them in death.

As 2013 began, there were five living Raiders; then, in February Tom Griffin passed away at age 96.







What a man he was. After bailing out of his plane over mountainous Chinese forest after the Tokyo raid, he became ill with malaria, and almost died. When he recovered, he was sent to Europe to fly more combat missions. He was shot down, captured and spent 22 months in a German prisoner of war camp.

The selflessness of these men, the sheer guts ... there was a passage in the Cincinnati Enquirer obituary for Mr. Griffin that, on the surface, had nothing to do with the war, but that emblematizes the depth of his sense of duty and devotion: "When his wife became ill and needed to go into a nursing home he visited her every day. He walked from his house to the nursing home, fed his wife and at the end of the day brought home her clothes. At night, he washed and ironed her clothes. Then he walked them up to her room the next morning. He did that for three years until her death in 2005."

So now, out of the original 80, only four Raiders remain: Dick Cole (Doolittle's co-pilot on the Tokyo raid), Robert Hite, Edward Saylor and David Thatcher. All are in their 90s. They have decided that there are too few of them for the public reunions to continue.

The events in Fort Walton Beach this week will mark the end. It has come full circle; Florida 's nearby Eglin Field was where the Raiders trained in secrecy for the Tokyo mission. The town planning to do all it can to honor the men: a six-day celebration of their valor, including luncheons, a dinner and a parade.

Do the men ever wonder if those of us for whom they helped save the country have tended to it in a way that is worthy of their sacrifice? They don't talk about that, at least not around other people. But if you find yourself near Fort Walton Beach this week, and if you should encounter any of the Raiders, you might want to offer them a word of thanks. I can tell you from firsthand observation that they appreciate hearing that they are remembered.

The men have decided that after this final public reunion they will wait until a later date -- some time this year -- to get together once more, informally and in absolute privacy. That is when they will open the bottle of brandy. The years are flowing by too swiftly now; they are not going to wait until there are only two of them.

They will fill the four remaining upturned goblets. And raise them in a toast to those who are gone.



Their 70th Anniversary Photo





Remember.

ColoradoJens








posted on Sep, 26 2013 @ 08:35 PM
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reply to post by ColoradoJens
 


Ah damn.... What people. Their story is one to set an example by.

I wish we had some more of that today. Real sacrifice and a sense of duty....an "opt in" to your fellow man and our civilization.

Thanks for the reminder OP.

Cheers to them....and those fallen.



posted on Sep, 26 2013 @ 08:38 PM
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reply to post by tadaman
 


My sentiments exactly. Defending your country has changed back to sacrificing for rich guys. These guys were true heroes.

CJ



posted on Sep, 26 2013 @ 09:09 PM
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reply to post by ColoradoJens
 

This is bittersweet...a reminder of what we once were capable of, but see so little of these days. I hope they give them the sendoff they deserve.



posted on Sep, 26 2013 @ 10:09 PM
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reply to post by QuantumCypher
 


I wonder if they ever ask themselves if it was all worth it? Of course for them and their loved ones it was, but in the sense of what has become of America?

CJ



posted on Sep, 26 2013 @ 11:09 PM
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I wonder if the Doolittle raid is the equivalent of geronimo of present day.

A story....

No Offense anyone, I just don't trust anything anymore...



posted on Sep, 26 2013 @ 11:10 PM
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reply to post by ColoradoJens
 

I read about "The Doolittle Raid" (Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo) when I was 13, and those men became my first heroes. Two years later, at Torrejon AFB, Spain, I had two classmates that we referred to as "The Doolittle Twins". As it turned out, they were Gen. Doolittle's grandsons. Because of them, I had the good fortune of meeting him, when he came for a visit in 1970. When we shook hands, I was so damned awestruck that I couldn't think of a thing to say. He just starting laughing, and went out of his way to make me feel at ease. He was quite a gentleman.

You are correct! Gen. Doolittle, and his "Raiders", were members of a dying breed. Many thought that was a suicide mission, even if it had went according to plan. It didn't, and they pulled it off anyway. That mission was a truly amazing act of courage.

Thank you for the reminder, and bringing back one of my most cherished memories. S&F for you!

See ya,
Milt



posted on Sep, 26 2013 @ 11:48 PM
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reply to post by AbleEndangered
 


I wonder if the Doolittle raid is the equivalent of geronimo of present day.

Geronimo doesn't even come close.

The book "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo" was a first hand account of the mission, written by one of the pilots. The best advice I can give, regarding this subject, is to read that book, and decide for yourself.

Those airmen did something that many, at that time, thought was impossible. They stripped the Hell out of those aircraft to make them as light as possible. While at sea, and to increase their chances of a successful takeoff, the crews decided to remove the remaining guns and ammo. Even without the extra weight of that armament, the last aircraft dropped off the end of the Hornet's deck so far, that many of the ships crew, initially, thought that it had went into the water. As they continued watching, though, it finally reappeared and started gaining altitude.

See ya,
Milt



posted on Sep, 26 2013 @ 11:55 PM
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reply to post by BenReclused
 


I hope its real, but it sounds so impossible, it may have been...

You just lose faith in country after a while....

The spell from public school wears off, and its all bad!!



posted on Sep, 27 2013 @ 01:26 AM
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reply to post by AbleEndangered
 


This was an incredible event. Two aircraft carriers, USS Enterprise, and USS Hornet, under overall command of Adm. Bill Halsey sailed into Japanese waters, some 650 miles (can't remember exactly...) off Japans coast.

This was in the months after Pearl Harbor. Things were not looking good for the Allies. Russia was being smashed. England was on the ropes. The U.S. and its allies had been kicked out of the Western Pacific. Dark Times. No one knew what might go wrong next...

The Doolittle raid was, in very large degree, a propaganda event. To show the public, not just in America, that yes, we were still in the fight...

In very real terms, it accomplished very little. An aircraft carrier (IJN Ryuho) was lightly damaged, and some buildings were damaged. But it was a harbinger of what was to come... It set the stage for the Battle of Midway later that summer.

These were brave, brave men. Both in those planes, and in those ships that took 'em so far into harms way.

Yes, it happened.



posted on Sep, 27 2013 @ 02:31 AM
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reply to post by AbleEndangered
 


I hope its real,

I can assure you that "The Doolittle Raid" was, indeed, real.


but it sounds so impossible,

Yes, it certainly does. Many of those crew members felt the same way when they were briefed about their mission, but they went anyway.


You just lose faith in country after a while...

That was even more true back then, but the whole country rallied with the news of Doolittle's attack on Japan. That's why it was so important.

No one should have faith in a country. It's your fellow citizens that you should have faith in. They have come together to do mighty things in the past, and I have no doubt that WE will do it again. I just don't know when, or what the trigger will be. I've seen some truly inspiring things happen in my life, and I'm sure you will too.


The spell from public school wears off, and its all bad!!

Ah Hell. Most of what I've learned wasn't in, or because of, school. Now it's time to teach yourself. You seem to need inspiration, and you seem to be interested in the topic of this discussion, so read "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo". I know damned good and well that you will be glad you did!

When your done with that, read about "The Tuskegee Airmen". They were as selfless and courageous as "Doolittle's Raiders" were, but they had to win the right to prove it. And prove it, they did!

See ya,
Milt



posted on Sep, 27 2013 @ 02:50 AM
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reply to post by BenReclused
 


Yeah, that book is kinda like this one:

www.amazon.com/SEAL-Target-Geronimo-Inside-Mission/dp/B007MXAUQ2/
www.amazon.com...

Brain Washing, Mind Cleaning and Programming!!



posted on Sep, 27 2013 @ 02:58 AM
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what about tokyo rose?



posted on Sep, 27 2013 @ 03:08 AM
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reply to post by hephalump
 


This was in the months after Pearl Harbor. Things were not looking good for the Allies. Russia was being smashed. England was on the ropes. The U.S. and its allies had been kicked out of the Western Pacific. Dark Times. No one knew what might go wrong next...

Those were, indeed, "Dark Times"! One of those "No one knew what might go wrong next" problems was the Japanese invasion of the Aleutian Islands. We had a Hell of a time recapturing the islands that they had occupied.

I'm sure you knew that. I just posted it for "AbleEndangered's" sake. They didn't teach that in school when I went, so I'm sure they don't teach it now, BUT THEY SHOULD.

That was, fortunately, a time when we had heroes in abundance. I'm certainly glad that I had the chance to get to know, and thank, quite a few World War II veterans. If it hadn't been for their selflessness and courage, I have no doubt that I'd be saying sayonara, instead of "see ya".

See ya,
Milt



posted on Sep, 27 2013 @ 03:31 AM
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reply to post by AbleEndangered
 


Brain Washing, Mind Cleaning and Programming!!

You had already decided that long before I responded to your first post, but that's okay. With an attitude like that you won't ever learn anything worthwhile, but that's your problem, not mine.

See ya,
Milt



posted on Sep, 27 2013 @ 07:33 AM
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BenReclused
reply to post by ColoradoJens
 

I read about "The Doolittle Raid" (Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo) when I was 13, and those men became my first heroes. Two years later, at Torrejon AFB, Spain, I had two classmates that we referred to as "The Doolittle Twins". As it turned out, they were Gen. Doolittle's grandsons. Because of them, I had the good fortune of meeting him, when he came for a visit in 1970. When we shook hands, I was so damned awestruck that I couldn't think of a thing to say. He just starting laughing, and went out of his way to make me feel at ease. He was quite a gentleman.

You are correct! Gen. Doolittle, and his "Raiders", were members of a dying breed. Many thought that was a suicide mission, even if it had went according to plan. It didn't, and they pulled it off anyway. That mission was a truly amazing act of courage.

Thank you for the reminder, and bringing back one of my most cherished memories. S&F for you!

See ya,
Milt


Awesome story, thanks for posting it! I still can't believe these guys knew they would fail and did it anyway. Three balls.

CJ



posted on Sep, 27 2013 @ 07:17 PM
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reply to post by BenReclused
 


Somehow some way I am not surprised this is as far as this thread will go now on ATS. Bummer. I thought more people would enjoy/appreciate it.

CJ



posted on Sep, 27 2013 @ 07:23 PM
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reply to post by BenReclused
 



BenReclused
reply to post by AbleEndangered
 


Brain Washing, Mind Cleaning and Programming!!

You had already decided that long before I responded to your first post, but that's okay. With an attitude like that you won't ever learn anything worthwhile, but that's your problem, not mine.

See ya,
Milt


No, I actually seen repetition and pattern in the program!!



posted on Sep, 27 2013 @ 07:25 PM
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reply to post by ColoradoJens
 


Aww...thanks for that. I love hearing about that kind of heroism, especially back in the day when there was not all the technology and a man had to survive by sheer strength of mind, fortitude and by his wit. I know that generation is dying out daily and it's pretty cool to see them get the honor and respect they deserve. Somehow I wish I could teach that kind of strength or whatever it is, to the young generation coming up. I will never forget. Again, thanks!
edit on 27-9-2013 by queenofsheba because: cuz I said so



posted on Sep, 27 2013 @ 07:49 PM
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reply to post by queenofsheba
 


I know. It's almost sentimental to the extreme. I love history and stories of valor.

CJ





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