James Harold "Jimmy"
Doolittle, James Harold "Jimmy"
Jimmy Doolittle, born on 14-12-1896 in Alameda, California, spent his youth in Nome, Alaska, where he earned a reputation as a boxer. Doolittle received his Reserve Military Aviator rating and during World War I, he stayed in the United States as a flight instructor and performed his war service at Camp John Dick Aviation Concentration Center, ”Camp Dick", Texas. He returned to duty 01-07-1940, as a major and assistant district supervisor of the Central Air Corps Procurement District at Indianapolis, Shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 07-12-1941 and America's entry into World War II, Doolittle was recalled to active duty. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel on 02-01-1942 and assigned to Army Air Forces Headquarters to plan the first retaliatory air raid on the Japanese homeland. He volunteered for and received General Happy Arnold's (see Arnold) approval to lead the top-secret attack of 16 B-25 medium bombers from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet,
with targets in Tokyo, Kobe, Yokohama, Osaka and Nagoya. On April 18, all the bombers successfully took off from the Hornet, reached Japan and bombed their targets. Fifteen of the planes then headed for their recovery airfield in China, while one crew chose to land in Russia due to their bomber's unusually high fuel consumption. As did most of the other crewmen who participated in the mission, Doolittle's crew bailed out safely over China when their bomber ran out of fuel and crashed but survived. Doolittle received the Medal of Honor from President Franklin D. Roosevelt (see Roosevelt) at the White House for planning and leading his raid on Japan. The Doolittle Raid is viewed by historians as a major morale-building victory for the United States. From January 1944 to September 1945, he held his largest command, the Eighth Air Force in England as a Lieutenant General, his promotion date being 13-03-1944 and the highest rank ever held by a reserve officer in modern times. When Hanna Reitsch (see Reitsch) the German test pilot came to the USA, they became good friends. Doolittle married Josephine E. Daniels on 24-12-1917. At a dinner celebration after Jimmy Doolittle’s first all-instrument flight in 1929, "Joe" Doolittle asked her guests to sign her white damask tablecloth. Later, she embroidered the names in black. She continued this tradition, collecting hundreds of signatures from the aviation world. The tablecloth was donated to the Smithsonian. Married for over 70 years, Joe Doolittle died in 1988, five years before his wife. The Doolittles had two sons, James Jr., and John P. Both became military aviators. James Jr was an A-26 Invader pilot during World War II and committed suicide at the age of thirty-eight in 1958. He was found dead in his office at the Bergtrom Air Force Base and had shot in the right temple with a 38 caliber revolver.
At the time of his death, James Jr was commander of the 524th Fighter-Bomber Squadron and piloted a F-101 Voodoo. His other son, John P. Doolittle, retired from the Air Force as a Colonel, and his grandson, Colonel James H. Doolittle, III, was the vice commander of the Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards Air Force Base, California. Doolittle retired from Air Force duty on 28-02-1959 and on 04-04-1985, the U.S. Congress promoted Doolittle to the rank of full General on the Air Force retired list. In a later ceremony, President Ronald Reagan (see Reagan) and U.S. Senator and retired Air Force Reserve Major General Barry Goldwater pinned on Doolittle's four-star insignia. Goldwater died of Alzheimer old age 89, on 29-05-1998. James H. "Jimmy" Doolittle died at the age of 96 in Pebble Beach, California on 27-09-1993, and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia,
Section 7 A, next to his wife Josephine. In his honor at the funeral, there was also a flyover of Miss Mitchell, a lone B-25 Mitchell, and USAF Eighth Air Force bombers from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. After a brief graveside service, Doolittle's great-grandson played Taps flawlessly. Close by in Section 7 A, the 101st Airborne General Maxwell Taylor (see Taylor) and the Marine Corps private Lee Marvin (see Marvin), technical sergeant, box champ Joe Louis (see Louis), Flying Ace "Pappy" Boyington (see Boyington) and Bruce Clarke (see Clarke). Close by also the grave of most decorated Audi Murphy (see Murphy).