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Topic: Some aviation "living history"

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Subject: Some aviation "living history"
Date Posted: 4/18/2012 6:31 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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Today, here in Ohio, we've been having a genuine "living history" event, commemorating the 70th anniversary of the first bombing raid of Japan in W. W. II,.  The historic mission involved 16 B-25s,( two-engine medium bombers) led by Army Air Force Lt-Col. Jimmy Doolittle.  On April 18, 1942, the group took off from the flight deck of the USS Hornet.   

For today's commemorative event, 20 vintage bombers from all over the U.S. A. came for the event.  They did a fly-over this afternoon at the USAF Museum, near Wright-Patterson AFB.   It was a great sight to see these 70 year old aircraft in the air .Five of the men who took part in the 1942 mission still survive, and four of them are attending the event. 

Reminder:  The U. S. Air Force Museum, at Dayton, OH, is the largest and oldest military aviation museum in the world.  The collection includes more than 360 aerospace vehicles, and thousands of artifacts, memorabilia, uniforms and photographs.  Also, an IMAX theater in the museum.

Kat (polbio) -
Date Posted: 4/19/2012 7:35 AM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2008
Posts: 3,067
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I was suppose to go to Wright Patterson last year for the Dawn Patrol event they do every year. I am hoping to get there this year since i didnt make it last year.


Date Posted: 4/26/2012 10:22 AM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 2,617
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Just saw this thread...

When my now-21-year-old son was in elementary school, he was passionate about planes -- in the way that other boys are passionate about dinosaurs, cars, etc. For his 10th birthday, my mom took him to the USAF Museum in Dayton which thrilled him. According to my mom (who is a very proud grandma so may exaggerate a bit), my son was so excited and so knowledgeable that as he told her stories about the planes, others started tagging along and eventually this pipsqueak was playing tourguide to a large crowd of tourists. Somehow his childhood plans to become an aeronautical engineer got sidetracked and he is about to graduate from college with a degree in philosophy -- not quite as useful or employable! But he does have his pilot's license.

Date Posted: 4/28/2012 10:44 PM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2010
Posts: 3,683
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As a World War II history nut, I have read almost everything I could find on the Doolittle Raid. And I have a copy of Doolittle's biography too (a hard book to find). Even the movies - 30 Seconds Over Tokyo and The Purple Heart - are excellent, if somewhat historically inaccurate.

While a great morale booster to the American people in World War II, the Chinese paid a severe price. The Japanese slaughtered approximately 250,000 Chinese in the provinces where the planes came down.  Despite this, the Chinese people never blamed the Americans for their losses. In fact, in April 1945, when my father's B-24 bomber (he was a TSgt radio-operator/gunner) went down behind Japanese lines in China on his 36th mission, Chinese peasants rescued him and took him to Chinese guerillas. His entire crew was rescued by the Chinese. He never forgot that experience and we still have photos of him and his crew with some of the guerrillas.

Because the Doolittle crews went down behind Japanese lines, the men were not allowed to participate in combat raids in the Pacific anymore. If captured and tortured by the Japanese, they might have given information on the Chinese guerrillas and civilians who aided them. However, most of them saw duty in the European threater, where a number lost their lives. After my father returned to American lines, he was given the choice of returning to the U.S. or to Australia, where his wife of less than one month was waiting.  My mother wrote to tell him to return to the U.S., but she wasn't able to meet him again for almost a year. But that's another story.

In any case, the Doolittle crews were very brave men. Most did not expect to survive the mission.