The Official Website of
The Doolittle Tokyo Raiders was a group eighty men from all walks of life who flew into history on April 18, 1942. They were all volunteers and this was a very dangerous mission. Sixteen B-25 bombers took off from the deck of the USS Hornet, led by (then Col.) Jimmy Doolittle. They were to fly over Japan, drop their bombs and fly on to land in a part of China that was still free. Of course, things do not always go as planned.
The months following the attack on Pearl Harbor were the darkest of the war, as Imperial Japanese forces rapidly extended their reach across the Pacific. Our military was caught off guard, forced to retreat, and losing many men in the fall of the Philippines, leading to the infamous Bataan Death March.
By spring, 1942, America needed a severe morale boost. The raid on Tokyo on April 18, 1942, certainly provided that – cheering the American military and public. Yet, the Doolittle Raid meant so much more, proving to the Japanese high command that their home islands were not invulnerable to American attacks and causing them to shift vital resources to their defense. Two months later that decision would play a role in the outcome of the Battle of Midway, the American victory that would begin to turn the tide in the Pacific War.
In order to honor all the Raiders, past and present, for their valor, courage and patriotism, we are working to get the Congressional Gold Medal awarded while we still have three members who are able to travel to receive the award.
We need your help!
Please contact your Senators and ask them to co-sponsor S.381, which is the Senate bill authorizing the Congressional Gold Medal, and contact your Representative and ask them to co-sponsor H.R.1209, which is the House bill. Both bills must pass by two-thirds majority.
Contact your Senator HERE
Contact your Representative HERE
Track the House Bill H.R. 1209 HERE
Track the Senate Bill S. 381 HERE
Learn more about the Congressional Gold Medal HERE
See previous Congressional Gold Medal Recipients HERE
It is with a heavy heart and great sadness to announce the passing of
Major Thomas C. Griffin
Visit his Personal Page HERE
There are now 4 surviving Doolittle Raiders
The 71st Doolittle Raiders Reunion
Click HERE for merchandise from this event
for details visit
There are 5 Surviving Doolittle Raiders
Visit the Bulletin Board/Forum about the Doolittle Raiders!
This web site is dedicated to my father, Richard Outcalt Joyce and the other 79 Brave Men whom were in the Doolittle Tokyo Raid. My father was the Pilot of plane #10 which took off of the aircraft carrier USS Hornet on a secret mission to bomb Japan Mainland for the first time in history. This site is also a tribute to all the service personnel who helped these 80 men including reserve crews, Navy personnel on the Task Force, and also to all who have helped with the Reunions each year including the Escorts, the entire Air Force and each years Sponsor for the Reunions. Finally I would like to extend a big thanks to Tom Casey, The Doolittle Raiders Business manager, and all the Doolittle Raider Family Members and Widows. - This is the Official Doolittle Raider Web Site!
The Raid was a total secret to all involved and the members of the raid were chosen by volunteering for a "dangerous secret mission". The members did not know the target destination until the planes were loaded on the ship and the raid was underway. This was to prevent any "leakage" of information about the raid. 16 B-25 twin engine bombers were to take off from the deck of the Aircraft Carrier USS Hornet and bomb Japan mainland. This would be the first attack on Japan mainland of WW2. Because the airplanes were too large to be taken below deck on the aircraft carrier they had to be stored at the end of the runway on top. As a result the runway was very short, especially for the first plane in line, and special training was required to teach the pilots to be able to take off in such a short distance with a full payload.
April 18, 1942 - About 600 miles from Japan mainland a small fishing boat was spotted and destroyed and General Doolittle felt that this small boat may have warned Japan that there is a big ass US Aircraft Carrier just outside of town... So Jimmy Doolittle ordered the raid to proceed immediately. As a result of the early take-off the planes would be short on fuel to reach the "Safe Zones" in nearby China despite desperate measures taken to prepare the planes in advance by engineers to give them the maximum amount of fuel storage space available including removing the tail gunner section and installing broomsticks painted like machine guns and placing a rubber fuel tank in the tail section, carrying ten 5 gallon gas cans for manual fuel addition during flight to a tank installed where the lower gun turret was, and a larger tank located in the bomb bay. Total fuel payload was 1,141 Gallons for a 2000 mile range.
Due to the possibility of detection by the small boat the raid was ordered to proceed ahead of schedule and aircraft takeoff was to begin immediately. The planes now had about enough fuel to successfully reach the landing zones - if they flew straight to them without errors in navigation or using evasive maneuvers.
All 16 B-25's successfully took off from the Carrier and bombed their targets. Most planes encountered anti-aircraft fire and some encountered enemy interception in the air. All of the airplanes except one either crash landed or the crew bailed out. The plane that did land, landed in Russia and the crew were internees. After being held captive with liberal freedoms available an escape attempt was executed to Iran and British Consul helped the men back to the US on May 29, 1943 - Over a year after the raid.
My father was the Pilot of Plane #10 40-2250. His plane encountered enemy aircraft during the raid and the turret gunner believes one fighter was hit but does not believe it was shot down. He endured heavy anti-aircraft fire resulting in a large hole in the fuselage of the plane. He bombed a Steel Mill in Tokyo successfully. His crew and himself bailed out of the plane about 30 miles north of Chuchow China.
My father was the last one to bail out of the plane as he wanted to make sure the plane did not circle around and injure any of his crew. When he did finally bail out his .45 Automatic pistol was ripped from his holster when his parachute opened rendering him weaponless. It was almost dark when he bailed out and could not see the ground due to the darkness. He could hear his airplane circling below him and he was scared the plane would hit him but it never did. The parachutes used in 1942 were made of silk and was about the equivalent of using an umbrella to soften your landing. He explained to me that he hit the ground without warning on the side of a steep mountain and was surprised that the landing didn't seriously hurt him or even worse. He lit a cigarette after he was back on land and when he was finished with it he flicked it and it just kept going down and down and down so he decided to stay put until daylight for his own safety.
The B-25 raid on Japan has gone down in the annals of World War II as a classic example of the courage and ingenuity of American airmen in combat. Led by the incomparable Jimmy Doolittle, the raid came at a time when the Japanese were advancing steadily across the Pacific. Guam, Wake, Hong Kong, and Singapore had fallen. In the Philippines, General Wainwright and the remnants of his force were making a brave but hopeless last stand on the Corregidor.
The appearance of 16 B-25s over Japan on April 18, 1942, lifted the gloom that had descended upon America and her Pacific allies. The bomb damage that resulted was not great, compared with that inflicted later in the war, but the raid had some far-reaching effects. The Japanese wee forced to retain fighter units for the defense of the home islands which had been intended for the Solomons, and they felt compelled to expand their Pacific perimeter beyond the area where it could be defended adequately. The full impact of the raid on the minds of the Japanese military leaders and its consequent influence on the course of the war in the Pacific were not realized until long after that conflict.
For American and her allies the raid was a badly needed morale booster. Besides being the first offensive air action undertaken against the Japanese home islands, the Tokyo raid accomplished some other "firsts" that augured well for the future. It was the first war action in which the United States Army Air Force and the United States Navy teamed up in a full-scale operation against the enemy. The Doolittle Raiders were the first and last to fly land-based bombers from a carrier deck on a combat mission and first to use new cruise control techniques in attacking a distant target. The incendiary bombs they carried were the forerunner to those used later in the war. The special camera recording apparatus developed at Colonel Doolittle's request was adopted by the AAF and the crew recommendations concerning armament, tactics and equipment were used as the basis for later improvements.
It was twenty-six months before American bombers went back to Japan. During those months of bitter fighting, America was slowly building her land, sea and air forces and with them driving the enemy, island by island, back across the Pacific. In 1944 and 1945 mighty fleets of B-29s penetrated the skies over Japan and finished the job begun by Jimmy Doolittle and the Tokyo Raiders in April of 1942.
Facts about the Doolittle Tokyo Raid:
80 men took part in the raid. Five men each in sixteen planes.
10,000 Navy personnel in the Task Force that launched planes.
One man killed on bail-out after mission, Leland D. Faktor, 17003211, Corporal. He was buried by Rev. John M. Birch after whom the John Birch Society was later named.
Eight men captured by the Japanese - Hallmark, Meder, Nielsen, Farrow, Hite, Barr, Spatz, and DeShazer
Following the Tokyo Raid, the crews of two planes were missing. On August 15, 1942. it was learned from the Swiss Consulate General in Shanghai that eight American flyers were prisoners of the Japanese at Police Headquarters in that city.
Most raiders flew additional combat missions after Tokyo Raid.
Four raiders became POW's of the Germans later on in the war.
Thirteen raiders died later during WWII, most in action against the enemy.
All 80 raiders received the Distinguished Flying Cross for this mission. Those imprisoned and tortured were also awarded the Purple Heart. Two raiders received the Silver Star for gallantry in the line of duty, Dr. Thomas R. White and David Thatcher. All raiders received decorations from the Chinese Government. General Doolittle received the Medal of Honor from President Roosevelt.
Thirteen raiders were born in Texas.
Thirty Five states can claim Tokyo Raiders as the place of birth, including Hawaii.
There was one physician, Dr. Thomas R. White, on the raid. He flew as a Gunner in order to go on the raid. He was one of the two raiders to receive the the Silver Star for Gallantry in the line of duty for saving the life of Lieutenant Ted Lawson by amputating his leg shortly after the bail out and donated some of his own blood by transfusion.
Two men have been named "Honorary Tokyo Raiders".
Two Navy men lost their lives after the carrier Hornet launched the Doolittle Raiders. A plane from the Hornet ran out of gas while on a patrol mission and ditched in the sea. Another plane was lost due to enemy action.
Five Japanese sailors from the picket boat which was sunk were taken prisoner by the Navy while the planes were being launched.
The Tokyo raiders were not the first men to ever take a land-based bomber off an aircraft carrier. Two Army Air Forces pilots took two B-25's off the Hornet's deck on February 2, 1942 to see if it could be done. Neither of these two pilots were on the Doolittle Raid.
The idea of having land-based planes take off from a carrier was first thought of by General Henry H. "Hap" Arnold in connection with the landings in North Africa.
Jimmy Doolittle had never been a Captain or a Colonel. He resigned his regular commission as a 1st Lieutenant in 1930 and left active duty. He was given Reserve commission as a Major. He was recalled to active duty at his own request in 1940 as a Major. He was a Lieutenant Colonel at the time of the Tokyo Raid. He was promoted to Brigadier General after the raid, skipping the rank of Colonel. He retired as a Lieutenant General, Air Force Reserve - the only Reserve officer to ever retire in that rank. He gave 1/2 of his reserve retired pay to Air Force Aid Society and the other 1/2 to the Air Force Academy Foundation. Doolittle was promoted to full general in 1985 by special act of Congress.
The section titled "The First Joint Action" has a very detailed account of the preparations and the procedures involved with the Doolittle Raid.
Be sure to visit the various sections of this web site listed at the left. If you have anything you would like to contribute to this web site please be sure to email me.
Please be sure to visit the FORUM area for questions and answers you might have. Enjoy!
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