The lone remaining veteran of the famed Doolittle Raiders mission of April 1942 and at least 16 B-25 bombers will be part of the raid’s 75th anniversary commemoration and air show activities at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2017 at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The 65th annual Experimental Aircraft Association fly-in convention, the “World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration,” will be held July 24-30.
The 75th anniversary activities will honor those involved in the daring mission that involved 16 B-25 bombers that departed from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet on April 18, 1942, and bombed military sites in Japan. The “Doolittle Raiders,” led by legendary pilot Jimmy Doolittle, then faced hardships after their airplanes made forced landings in China and other areas.
“The Doolittle Raid 75 years ago was important, not as much for its military gains as it was a morale lift to an American military and public that had been buffeted by bad news in the months immediately following the attack on Pearl Harbor,” said Rick Larsen, EAA’s vice president of communities and member benefits who coordinates AirVenture features and attractions. “Our activities at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh this year will connect our attendees with the importance of this mission, as well as the people and aircraft involved.”
Among the highlights of the 75th anniversary commemoration will be a July 26 evening program with 101-year-old Dick Cole, the only remaining member of the 80 original Doolittle Raiders, as well as Jimmy Doolittle’s grandchildren, Jimmy Doolittle III and Jonna Doolittle Hoppes.
“I want to thank EAA for honoring the Raiders at their 75th anniversary,” said Cole, who was co-pilot for Doolittle in the lead aircraft. “Thank you for paying tribute to us even though we never felt like heroes. We were just doing our job. We can also never forget the men who fought at Wake, Midway, and all across the Pacific. See you at Oshkosh.”
Other highlights include:
- Arrival of at least 16 B-25 bombers at AirVenture by Tuesday, July 25, with the aircraft parked in AirVenture’s warbird area. Notable aircraft already confirmed include Panchito (Delaware Aviation Museum); Briefing Time (Mid-Atlantic Air Museum); Yankee Warrior (Yankee Air Museum); Miss Hap (American Airpower Museum); Barbie III (Cavanaugh Flight Museum); Devil Dog (Commemorative Air Force); and Miss Mitchell (Commemorative Air Force – Minnesota Wing).
- Several programs at the popular Warbirds of America “Warbirds in Review” speaker series.
- Sixteen B-25s flying in the warbirds air show on Tuesday, July 25, and re-enacting the 1942 Doolittle Raid to start the night air show on Wednesday, July 26.
Other highlights will be announced as they are finalized.