James Harold Doolittle (December 14, 1896 – September 27, 1993) was an American general and aviation pioneer. He made early coast-to-coast flights, won many flying races and, most significantly, helped develop instrument flying.
Doolittle did his undergraduate studies at University of California, Berkeley, graduating with B.A in 1922, and earned a doctorate in aeronautics from M.I.T. in 1925. A flying instructor during World War I and later a Reserve officer in the United States Army Air Corps, Doolittle was recalled to active duty during World War II. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for personal valor and leadership as commander of the Doolittle Raid, a bold long-range retaliatory air raid on the Japanese main islands, on April 18, 1942, four months after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The attack was a major morale booster for the United States, and Doolittle was celebrated as a hero.
He was promoted to lieutenant general and commanded the Twelfth Air Force over North Africa, the Fifteenth Air Force over the Mediterranean, and the Eighth Air Force over Europe. After World War II he left the air force but remained active in many technical fields, and was eventually promoted to general (4-star) years after retirement.
|Born||December 14, 1896|
|Died||September 27, 1993 (aged 96)|
Pebble Beach, California
|Service/||Aviation Section, U.S. Signal Corps (1917–18)|
United States Army Air Service (1918–26)
United States Army Air Corps (1926–41)
United States Army Air Forces (1941–47)
United States Air Force (1947–59)
|Years of service||1917–1959|
|Commands held||Eighth Air Force|
Fifteenth Air Force
Twelfth Air Force
|Battles/wars||Mexican Border Service|
World War II
|Awards||Medal of Honor|
Army Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Distinguished Flying Cross (3)
Bronze Star Medal
Air Medal (4)
Presidential Medal of Freedom
(m. 1917; died 1988)
|Other work||Shell Oil, VP, director|
Space Technology Laboratories, chairman
Doolittle was born in Alameda, California, and spent his youth in Nome, Alaska, where he earned a reputation as a boxer. His parents were Frank Henry Doolittle and Rosa (Rose) Cerenah Shephard. By 1910, Jimmy Doolittle was attending school in Los Angeles. When his school attended the 1910 Los Angeles International Air Meet at Dominguez Field, Doolittle saw his first airplane. He attended Los Angeles City College after graduating from Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles, and later won admission to the University of California, Berkeley where he studied in The School of Mines. He was a member of Theta Kappa Nu fraternity, which would merge into Lambda Chi Alpha during the latter stages of the Great Depression.
Doolittle took a leave of absence in October 1917 to enlist in the Signal Corps Reserve as a flying cadet; he ground trained at the School of Military Aeronautics (an Army school) on the campus of the University of California, and flight-trained at Rockwell Field, California. Doolittle received his Reserve Military Aviator rating and was commissioned a first lieutenant in the Signal Officers Reserve Corps of the U.S. Army on March 11, 1918.
During World War I, Doolittle stayed in the United States as a flight instructor and performed his war service at Camp John Dick Aviation Concentration Center ("Camp Dick"), Texas; Wright Field, Ohio; Gerstner Field, Louisiana; Rockwell Field, California; Kelly Field, Texas and Eagle Pass, Texas.
Doolittle's service at Rockwell Field consisted of duty as a flight leader and gunnery instructor. At Kelly Field, he served with the 104th Aero Squadron and with the 90th Aero Squadron of the 1st Surveillance Group. His detachment of the 90th Aero Squadron was based at Eagle Pass, patrolling the Mexican border. Recommended by three officers for retention in the Air Service during demobilization at the end of the war, Doolittle qualified by examination and received a Regular Army commission as a 1st Lieutenant, Air Service, on July 1, 1920.
On May 10, 1921, he was engineering officer and pilot for an expedition recovering a plane that had force-landed in a Mexican canyon on February 10 during a transcontinental flight attempt by Lieut. Alexander Pearson. Doolittle reached the plane on May 3 and found it serviceable, then returned May 8 with a replacement motor and four mechanics. The oil pressure of the new motor was inadequate and Doolittle requested two pressure gauges, using carrier pigeons to communicate. The additional parts were dropped by air and installed, and Doolittle flew the plane to Del Rio, Texas himself, taking off from a 400-yard airstrip hacked out of the canyon floor.
Subsequently, he attended the Air Service Mechanical School at Kelly Field and the Aeronautical Engineering Course at McCook Field, Ohio. Having at last returned to complete his college degree, he earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Berkeley in 1922, and joined the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity.
Doolittle was one of the most famous pilots during the inter-war period. In September 1922, he made the first of many pioneering flights, flying a de Havilland DH-4 – which was equipped with early navigational instruments – in the first cross-country flight, from Pablo Beach (now Jacksonville Beach), Florida, to Rockwell Field, San Diego, California, in 21 hours and 19 minutes, making only one refueling stop at Kelly Field. The U.S. Army awarded him the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Within days after the transcontinental flight, he was at the Air Service Engineering School (a precursor to the Air Force Institute of Technology) at McCook Field, Dayton, Ohio. For Doolittle, the school assignment had special significance: "In the early '20s, there was not complete support between the flyers and the engineers. The pilots thought the engineers were a group of people who zipped slide rules back and forth, came out with erroneous results and bad aircraft; and the engineers thought the pilots were crazy – otherwise they wouldn't be pilots. So some of us who had previous engineering training were sent to the engineering school at old McCook Field. ... After a year's training there in practical aeronautical engineering, some of us were sent on to MIT where we took advanced degrees in aeronautical engineering. I believe that the purpose was served, that there was thereafter a better understanding between pilots and engineers."
In July 1923, after serving as a test pilot and aeronautical engineer at McCook Field, Doolittle entered the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In March 1924, he conducted aircraft acceleration tests at McCook Field, which became the basis of his master's thesis and led to his second Distinguished Flying Cross. He received his S.M. in Aeronautics from MIT in June 1924. Because the Army had given him two years to get his degree and he had done it in just one, he immediately started working on his Sc.D. in Aeronautics, which he received in June 1925. His doctorate in aeronautical engineering was the first ever issued in the United States. He said that he considered his master's work more significant than his doctorate.
Following graduation, Doolittle attended special training in high-speed seaplanes at Naval Air Station Anacostia in Washington, D.C.. He also served with the Naval Test Board at Mitchel Field, Long Island, New York, and was a familiar figure in air speed record attempts in the New York area. He won the Schneider Cup race in a Curtiss R3C in 1925 with an average speed of 232 MPH. For that feat, Doolittle was awarded the Mackay Trophy in 1926.
In April 1926, Doolittle was given a leave of absence to go to South America to perform demonstration flights. In Chile, he broke both ankles, but put his P-1 Hawk through aerial maneuvers with his ankles in casts. He returned to the United States, and was confined to Walter Reed Army Hospital for his injuries until April 1927. Doolittle was then assigned to McCook Field for experimental work, with additional duty as an instructor pilot to the 385th Bomb Squadron of the Air Corps Reserve. During this time, in 1927 he was the first to perform an outside loop, previously thought to be a fatal maneuver. Carried out in a Curtiss fighter at Wright Field in Ohio, Doolittle executed the dive from 10,000 feet, reached 280 miles per hour, bottomed out upside down, then climbed and completed the loop.
Doolittle's most important contribution to aeronautical technology were his early contributions to instrument flying. He was the first to recognize that true operational freedom in the air could not be achieved unless pilots developed the ability to control and navigate aircraft in flight, from takeoff run to landing rollout, regardless of the range of vision from the cockpit. Doolittle was the first to envision that a pilot could be trained to use instruments to fly through fog, clouds, precipitation of all forms, darkness, or any other impediment to visibility; and in spite of the pilot's own possibly convoluted motion sense inputs. Even at this early stage, the ability to control aircraft was getting beyond the motion sense capability of the pilot. That is, as aircraft became faster and more maneuverable, pilots could become seriously disoriented without visual cues from outside the cockpit, because aircraft could move in ways that pilots' senses could not accurately decipher.
Doolittle was also the first to recognize these psycho-physiological limitations of the human senses (particularly the motion sense inputs, i.e., up, down, left, right). He initiated the study of the subtle interrelationships between the psychological effects of visual cues and motion senses. His research resulted in programs that trained pilots to read and understand navigational instruments. A pilot learned to "trust his instruments," not his senses, as visual cues and his motion sense inputs (what he sensed and "felt") could be incorrect or unreliable.
In 1929, he became the first pilot to take off, fly and land an airplane using instruments alone, without a view outside the cockpit. Having returned to Mitchel Field that September, he assisted in the development of fog flying equipment. He helped develop, and was then the first to test, the now universally used artificial horizon and directional gyroscope. He attracted wide newspaper attention with this feat of "blind" flying and later received the Harmon Trophy for conducting the experiments. These accomplishments made all-weather airline operations practical.
In January 1930, he advised the Army on the construction of Floyd Bennett Field in New York City. Doolittle resigned his regular commission on February 15, 1930, and was commissioned a Major in the Air Reserve Corps a month later, being named manager of the Aviation Department of Shell Oil Company, in which capacity he conducted numerous aviation tests. While in the Reserve, he also returned to temporary active duty with the Army frequently to conduct tests.
Doolittle helped influence Shell Oil Company to produce the first quantities of 100 octane aviation gasoline. High octane fuel was crucial to the high-performance planes that were developed in the late 1930s.
In 1932, Doolittle set the world's high speed record for land planes at 296 miles per hour in the Shell Speed Dash. Later, he took the Thompson Trophy race at Cleveland in the notorious Gee Bee R-1 racer with a speed averaging 252 miles per hour. After having won the three big air racing trophies of the time, the Schneider, Bendix, and Thompson, he officially retired from air racing stating, "I have yet to hear anyone engaged in this work dying of old age."
In April 1934, Doolittle was selected to be a member of the Baker Board. Chaired by former Secretary of War Newton D. Baker, the board was convened during the Air Mail scandal to study Air Corps organization. In 1940, he became president of the Institute of Aeronautical Science.
Doolittle returned to active duty in the U.S. Army Air Corps on July 1, 1940 with rank of Major. He was assigned as the assistant district supervisor of the Central Air Corps Procurement District at Indianapolis, and Detroit, where he worked with large auto manufacturers on the conversion of their plants for production of planes. The following August, he went to England as a member of a special mission and brought back information about other countries' air forces and military build-ups.
Following the reorganization of the Army Air Corps into the USAAF in June 1941, Doolittle was promoted to lieutenant colonel on January 2, 1942, and assigned to Army Air Forces Headquarters to plan the first retaliatory air raid on the Japanese homeland following the attack on Pearl Harbor. He volunteered for and received General H.H. Arnold's 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.
After training at Eglin Field and Wagner Field in northwest Florida, Doolittle, his aircraft and volunteer flight crews proceeded to McClellan Field, California for aircraft modifications at the Sacramento Air Depot, followed by a short final flight to Naval Air Station Alameda, California for embarkation aboard the aircraft carrier USS Hornet. On April 18, Doolittle and his 16 B-25 crews 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 one-way mission, Doolittle and his crew bailed out safely over China when their B-25 ran out of fuel. By then, they had been flying for about 12 hours, it was nighttime, the weather was stormy, and Doolittle was unable to locate their landing field. Doolittle came down in a rice paddy (saving a previously injured ankle from breaking) near Chuchow (Quzhou). He and his crew linked up after the bailout and were helped through Japanese lines by Chinese guerrillas and American missionary John Birch. Other aircrews were not so fortunate, although most eventually reached safety with the help of friendly Chinese. Seven crew members lost their lives, four as a result of being captured and murdered by the Japanese and three due to an aircraft crash or while parachuting. Doolittle thought he would be court martialed due to having to launch the raid ahead of schedule after being spotted by Japanese patrol boats and the loss of all the aircraft.
Doolittle went on to fly more combat missions as commander of the 12th Air Force in North Africa, for which he was awarded four Air Medals. He later commanded the 12th, 15th and 8th Air Forces in Europe. The other surviving members of the Doolittle raid also went on to new assignments.
Doolittle received the Medal of Honor from President Franklin D. Roosevelt at the White House for planning and leading his raid on Japan. His citation reads: "For conspicuous leadership above and beyond the call of duty, involving personal valor and intrepidity at an extreme hazard to life. With the apparent certainty of being forced to land in enemy territory or to perish at sea, Lt. Col. Doolittle personally led a squadron of Army bombers, manned by volunteer crews, in a highly destructive raid on the Japanese mainland." He was also promoted to brigadier general.
The Doolittle Raid is viewed by historians as a major morale-building victory for the United States. Although the damage done to Japanese war industry was minor, the raid showed the Japanese that their homeland was vulnerable to air attack, and forced them to withdraw several front-line fighter units from Pacific war zones for homeland defense. More significantly, Japanese commanders considered the raid deeply embarrassing, and their attempt to close the perceived gap in their Pacific defense perimeter led directly to the decisive American victory at the Battle of Midway in June 1942.
When asked from where the Tokyo raid was launched, President Roosevelt coyly said its base was Shangri-La, a fictional paradise from the popular novel Lost Horizon. In the same vein, the U.S. Navy named one of its Essex-class fleet carriers the USS Shangri-La.
In July 1942, as a brigadier general—he had been promoted by two grades on the day after the Tokyo attack, bypassing the rank of full colonel—Doolittle was assigned to the nascent Eighth Air Force. This followed his rejection by General Douglas MacArthur as commander of the South West Pacific Area to replace Major General George Brett. Major General Frank Andrews first turned down the position, and, offered a choice between George Kenney and Doolittle, MacArthur chose Kenney. In September, Doolittle became commanding general of the Twelfth Air Force, soon to be operating in North Africa. He was promoted to major general in November 1942, and in March 1943 became commanding general of the Northwest African Strategic Air Force, a unified command of U.S. Army Air Force and Royal Air Force units. In September, he commanded a raid against the Italian town of Battipaglia that was so thorough in its destruction that General Carl Andrew Spaatz sent him a joking message: "You're slipping Jimmy. There's one crabapple tree and one stable still standing."
Maj. Gen. Doolittle took command of the Fifteenth Air Force in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations in November 1943. On June 10, he flew as co-pilot with Jack Sims, fellow Tokyo Raider, in a B-26 Marauder of the 320th Bombardment Group, 442nd Bombardment Squadron on a mission to attack gun emplacements at Pantelleria. Doolittle continued to fly, despite the risk of capture, while being privy to the Ultra secret, which was that the German encryption systems had been broken by the British. From January 1944 to September 1945, he held his largest command, the Eighth Air Force (8 AF) in England as a lieutenant general, his promotion date being March 13, 1944 and the highest rank ever held by an active reserve officer in modern times.
Doolittle's major influence on the European air war occurred early in 1943 when he changed the policy requiring escorting fighters to remain with their bombers at all times. Doolittle allowed American fighter escorts to fly far ahead of the bombers' combat box formations in air supremacy mode. Throughout most of 1944 this tactic negated the effectiveness of the twin-engined Zerstörergeschwader heavy fighter wings (and their replacement, single-engined Sturmgruppen of heavily armed Fw 190As) by clearing opposition of the Luftwaffe's bomber destroyers from the airspace ahead of the bomber formations on their way to their targets. After the bombers had hit their targets, the USAAF's fighters were then free to strafe German airfields and transportation on their trips returning to base.
These tasks were initially performed with Lockheed P-38 Lightnings and Republic P-47 Thunderbolts through the end of 1943. These were progressively replaced with the long-ranged North American P-51 Mustangs as the spring of 1944 wore on.
After the end of war on Europe, the Eighth Air Force was re-equipped with B-29 Superfortress bombers and started to relocate to Okinawa in southern Japan. Two bomb groups had begun to arrive on August 7. However, the 8th was not scheduled to be at full strength until February 1946 and Doolittle declined to rush 8th Air Force units into combat saying that "If the war is over, I will not risk one airplane nor a single bomber crew member just to be able to say the 8th Air Force had operated against the Japanese in Asia.
On 27 March 1946, Doolittle was requested by Secretary of War Robert P. Patterson to head a commission on the relationships between officers and enlisted men in the U.S. Army. Called the "Doolittle Board", or informally the "GI Gripes Board", many of the recommendations were implemented for the postwar volunteer U.S. Army, though many professional officers and noncommissioned officers thought the Board "destroyed the discipline of the Army". After the Korean War, columnist Hanson Baldwin said the Doolittle Board "caused severe damage to service effectiveness by recommendations intended to 'democratize' the Army—a concept that is self-contradictory".
Doolittle became acquainted with the field of space science in its infancy. He wrote in his autobiography, "I became interested in rocket development in the 1930s when I met Robert H. Goddard, who laid the foundation [in the US]. ... While with Shell [Oil] I worked with him on the development of a type of [rocket] fuel. ... " Harry Guggenheim, whose foundation sponsored Goddard's work, and Charles Lindbergh, who encouraged Goddard's efforts, arranged for (then Major) Doolittle to discuss with Goddard a special blend of gasoline. Doolittle piloted himself to Roswell, New Mexico in October 1938 and was given a tour of Goddard's workshop and a "short course" in rocketry and space travel. He then wrote a memo, including a rather detailed description of Goddard's rocket. In closing he said, "interplanetary transportation is probably a dream of the very distant future, but with the moon only a quarter of a million miles away—who knows!" In July 1941 he wrote Goddard that he was still interested in rocket propulsion research. The Army, however, was interested only in JATO at this point. Doolittle was concerned about the state of rocketry in the US and remained in touch with Goddard.:1443
Shortly after World War II, Doolittle spoke to an American Rocket Society conference at which a large number interested in rocketry attended. The topic was Robert Goddard's work. He later stated that at that time "... we [the aeronautics field in the US] had not given much credence to the tremendous potential of rocketry.
In 1956, he was appointed chairman of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) because the previous chairman, Jerome C. Hunsaker, thought Doolittle to be more sympathetic to the rocket, which was increasing in importance as a scientific tool as well as a weapon.:516 The NACA Special Committee on Space Technology was organized in January 1958 and chaired by Guy Stever to determine the requirements of a national space program and what additions were needed to NACA technology. Doolittle, Dr. Hugh Dryden and Stever selected committee members, such as Dr. Wernher von Braun from the Army Ballistic Missile Agency, Sam Hoffman of Rocketdyne, Abe Hyatt of the Office of Naval Research and Colonel Norman Appold from the USAF missile program, considering their potential contributions to US space programs and ability to educate NACA people in space science.
On 5 January 1946, Doolittle reverted to inactive reserve status in the Army Air Forces in the grade of lieutenant general, a rarity in those days when nearly all other reserve officers were limited to the rank of major general or rear admiral, a restriction that would not end in the US armed forces until the 21st century. He retired from the United States Army on 10 May 1946. On 18 September 1947, his reserve commission as a general officer was transferred to the newly established United States Air Force. Doolittle returned to Shell Oil as a vice president, and later as a director.
In 1947, Doolittle also became the first president of the Air Force Association, an organization which he helped create.
In 1948, Doolittle advocated the desegregation of the US military. "I am convinced", emphasized Doolittle, "that the solution to the situation is to forget that they are colored." Industry was in the process of integrating, Doolittle said, "and it is going to be forced on the military. You are merely postponing the inevitable and you might as well take it gracefully."
In March 1951, Doolittle was appointed a special assistant to the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, serving as a civilian in scientific matters which led to Air Force ballistic missile and space programs. In 1952, following a string of three air crashes in two months at Elizabeth, New Jersey, the President of the United States, Harry S. Truman, appointed him to lead a presidential commission examining the safety of urban airports. The report "Airports and Their Neighbors" led to zoning requirements for buildings near approaches, early noise control requirements, and initial work on "super airports" with 10,000 ft runways, suited to 150 ton aircraft.
In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower asked Doolittle to perform a study of the Central Intelligence Agency; The resulting work was known as the Doolittle Report, 1954, and was classified for a number of years.
In January 1956, Eisenhower asked Doolittle to serve as a member on the first edition of the President's Board of Consultants on Foreign Intelligence Activities which, years later, would become known as the President's Intelligence Advisory Board.
From 1957 to 1958, he was chairman of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). This period was during the events of Sputnik, Vanguard and Explorer. He was the last person to hold this position, as the NACA was superseded by NASA. Doolittle was offered the job of being the first administrator of NASA, but he turned it down.
In 1972, Doolittle received the Tony Jannus Award for his distinguished contributions to commercial aviation, in recognition of the development of instrument flight.
On April 4, 1985, the U.S. Congress promoted Doolittle to the rank of full four-star general (O-10) on the U.S. Air Force retired list. In a later ceremony, President Ronald Reagan and U.S. Senator and retired Air Force Reserve Major General Barry Goldwater pinned on Doolittle's four-star insignia.
In addition to his Medal of Honor for the Tokyo raid, Doolittle received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, two Distinguished Service Medals, the Silver Star, three Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Bronze Star Medal, four Air Medals, and decorations from Belgium, China, Ecuador, France, Great Britain, and Poland. He was the first American to be awarded both the Medal of Honor and the Medal of Freedom. Doolittle also was awarded the Public Welfare Medal from the National Academy of Sciences in 1959. In 1983, he was awarded the United States Military Academy's Sylvanus Thayer Award. He was inducted in the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America as the only member of the air racing category in the inaugural class of 1989, and into the Aerospace Walk of Honor in the inaugural class of 1990. The headquarters of the United States Air Force Academy Association of Graduates (AOG) on the grounds of the United States Air Force Academy is named Doolittle Hall.
On May 9, 2007, The new 12th Air Force Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC), Building 74, at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona, was named in his honor as the "General James H. Doolittle Center". Several surviving members of the Doolittle Raid were in attendance during the ribbon cutting ceremony.
Doolittle married Josephine "Jo" E. Daniels on December 24, 1917. At a dinner celebration after Jimmy Doolittle's first all-instrument flight in 1929, Josephine 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 Institution. Married for over 70 years, Josephine Doolittle died in 1988, five years before her husband.
The Doolittles had two sons, James Jr., and John. Both became military officers and pilots. James Jr. was an A-26 Invader pilot in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II and later a fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force in the late 1940s through the late 1950s. He died by suicide at the age of thirty-eight in 1958. At the time of his death, James Jr. was a Major and commander of the 524th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, piloting the 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 at Edwards Air Force Base, California.
James H. "Jimmy" Doolittle died at the age of 96 in Pebble Beach, California on September 27, 1993, and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, near Washington, D.C., next to his wife. 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, fellow Doolittle Raider Bill Bower began the final tribute on the bugle. When emotion took over, Doolittle's great-grandson, Paul Dean Crane, Jr., played Taps.
|No insignia||Private First Class||United States Army||November 10, 1917|
|No insignia||Aviation Cadet||United States Army||October 6, 1917|
|Second Lieutenant||Officers Reserve Corps||March 11, 1918|
|Second Lieutenant||U.S. Army Air Service||September 19, 1920|
|First Lieutenant||U.S. Army Air Service||March 17, 1921|
Resigned February 15, 1930
|Major||Specialist Reserve||March 5, 1930|
|Major||Army of the United States||July 1, 1940|
|Lieutenant Colonel||Army of the United States||January 2, 1942|
|Brigadier General||Army of the United States||April 19, 1942|
|Major General||Army of the United States||November 20, 1942|
|Lieutenant General||Army of the United States||March 13, 1944|
|Lieutenant General||U.S. Army, Retired||January 5, 1946|
|Lieutenant General||Army Reserve||May 10, 1946|
|Lieutenant General||Air Force Reserve||September 18, 1947|
|Lieutenant General||Air Force Reserve, Retired List||February 28, 1959|
|General||Air Force Reserve, Retired List||April 4, 1985|
Doolittle's military and civilian decorations include the following:
|United States Air Force Command Pilot Badge|
|Honorary Naval Aviator Badge|
|Medal of Honor|
|Army Distinguished Service Medal with bronze oak leaf cluster|
|Distinguished Flying Cross with two bronze oak leaf clusters|
|Bronze Star Medal|
|Air Medal with three bronze oak leaf clusters|
|Presidential Medal of Freedom|
|World War I Victory Medal|
|American Defense Service Medal with one service star|
|American Campaign Medal|
|Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with bronze campaign star|
|European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with silver and three bronze campaign star|
|European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal (second ribbon required for accouterment spacing)|
|World War II Victory Medal|
|Air Force Longevity Service Award with four bronze oak leaf clusters|
|Armed Forces Reserve Medal with bronze hourglass device|
|Order of the Condor of the Andes, Officer (Bolivia)|
|Order of Abdon Calderón (Ecuador)|
|Order of Ouissam Alaouite, Knight (Morocco)|
|Croix de Guerre, with Palm (Belgium)|
|Légion d'honneur, Grand-Cross (France)|
|Croix de Guerre, with Palm (France)|
|Order of the Bath (United Kingdom)|
|Order of Polonia Restituta, (Krzyż Kawalerski) (Poland)|
|Medal of the Armed Forces, A-1 (Republic of China)|
Rank and organization: Brigadier General, U.S. Army Air Corps
Place and date: Over Japan
Entered service at: Berkley, Calif.
Birth: Alameda, Calif.
G.O. No.: 29, 9 June 1942
For conspicuous leadership above the call of duty, involving personal valor and intrepidity at an extreme hazard to life. With the apparent certainty of being forced to land in enemy territory or to perish at sea, Gen. Doolittle personally led a squadron of Army bombers, manned by volunteer crews, in a highly destructive raid on the Japanese mainland.
Doolittle also received the following awards and honors:
Jimmy Doolittle, 33°, Grand Cross.
with special dispensation from the Grand Lodge of California and the Grand Lodge of Louisiana, Doolittle was given all three degrees on August 16th, 1918 in Lake Charles Lodge No. 16.
|Presentation by Jonna Doolittle Hoppes on Calculated Risk: The Extraordinary Life of Jimmy Doolittle, Aviation Pioneer and World War II Hero, May 18, 2006, C-SPAN|
The awards and decorations of the Civil Air Patrol are "designed to recognize heroism, service, and program achievements" of members of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) of the United States of America. The CAP is the official auxiliary of the United States Air Force, and these awards are made to improve the esprit de corps of members. These awards are all worn in the form of medals or ribbons and all are considered civilian decorations. Civil Air Patrol regulations allow them to only be worn and displayed on appropriate CAP uniforms. In order to be considered for one of these awards, an individual must be a member in good standing of the Civil Air Patrol at the time of the act being recognized. There is a statute of limitations for these awards and all recommendations must be submitted within 2 years of the act being performed. It is possible for the next of kin of deceased persons to be presented awards to which a member was entitled, but which he or she did not receive. Award review boards are established at the region, wing, group, and squadron levels to consider recommendations for all awards and decorations.Curtiss R3C
The Curtiss R3C was an American racing aircraft built in landplane and floatplane form. It was a single-seat biplane built by the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company.
The R3C-1 was the landplane version and Cyrus Bettis won the Pulitzer Trophy Race in one on 12 October 1925 with a speed of 248.9 mph (406.5 km/h).
The R3C-2 was a twin float seaplane built for the Schneider Trophy race. In 1925, it took place at Chesapeake Bay in Baltimore, Maryland. With 232.57 mph (374.274 km/h), pilot Jimmy Doolittle won the trophy with a Curtiss R3C-2. The other two R3C-2s, piloted by George Cuddihy and Ralph Oftsie, did not reach the finish line. The next day, with the same plane on a straight course, Doolittle reached 245.7 mph (395.4 km/h), a new world record. For the next Schneider Trophy, which took place on 13 November 1926, the R3C-2's engine was further improved, and pilot Christian Franck Schilt took second place with 231.364 mph (372.34 km/h).Doolittle Massif
Doolittle Massif (80°50′S 156°42′E) is a compact group of mountain heights in the northwest Churchill Mountains between Zeller Glacier and Sefton Glacier where the glaciers enter the larger Byrd Glacier. The feature is 10 nautical miles (18 km) long and rises to 2,050 metres (6,730 ft) in Mount Rainbow. It was named by the Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names after General James H. (Jimmy) Doolittle United States Air Force, an American aviator and hero who visited McMurdo Station in 1962. In 1942 then Lieutenant Colonel Doolittle initiated heavy aircraft operations from the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier Hornet leading to carrier-based R4D operations from the carrier Philippine Sea during Operation Highjump in January 1946.Doolittle Report
There have been several Doolittle Reports:
The Doolittle report of 1867: Condition of the Indian Tribes: Report of the Joint Special Committee Appointed Under Joint Resolution of March 3, 1865. The chairman of the committee was Senator James Rood Doolittle, U.S. Senator from Wisconsin.
A report by Jimmy Doolittle on the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo Halsey-Doolittle Raid, April 1942.
A classified report by Jimmy Doolittle to U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower regarding the CIA's Directorate of Plans that had responsibility for both clandestine intelligence collection and covert operations. Declassified in 1976, this report is generally called the Doolittle Report, 1954.Herman G. Tillman Jr.
Herman G. "Hank" Tillman Jr. (1 April 1922 – 19 February 2012) was an American United States Air Force pilot who served in three wars and was one of Maryland's most decorated veterans. He served as the wingman for Jimmy Doolittle during a raid on Rome. During the Korean War, he ferried planes to South Korea. He flew 105 combat missions in Vietnam.
Tillman led the 66th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing at RAF Upper Heyford, Oxfordshire, England. At the time of his retirement in 1972, he was chief of staff of the 9th Air Force in Sumter, South Carolina.International Forest of Friendship
The International Forest of Friendship is an arboretum and memorial forest beside Lake Warnock in Atchison, Kansas. It is a memorial to the men and women involved in aviation and space exploration, and open to the public daily.
The forest was started in 1976 by the city of Atchison and the Ninety-Nines, an international organization of women pilots. Fay Gillis Wells is credited as founder and original co-chairman. The forest contains trees representing all 50 American states and the 35 countries where honorees reside. Each tree has its own flag, and many have unique associations, including trees from George Washington's Mount Vernon, the Bicentennial American Spruce, a tree from Amelia Earhart's grandfather's farm, a redbud from President Dwight D. Eisenhower's farm, and an American sycamore grown from a seed taken to the moon by Command Module pilot Stuart Roosa on Apollo 14. The moon tree is dedicated to seventeen American astronauts who lost their lives furthering space exploration.
A trail through the forest contains granite plaques with the names of over 1,200 aviation notables, including Amelia Earhart, Charles Lindbergh, Jeana Yeager, Rajiv Gandhi, the Wright Brothers, Sally Ride, Chuck Yeager, Beryl Markham, General Jimmy Doolittle, President George H. W. Bush, General Colin Powell, and Lt. Col. Eileen M. Collins, Capt. Lynn RippelmeyerJames H. Doolittle Award
The James H. Doolittle Award is an honor presented annually by the Society of Experimental Test Pilots. It is an award for "outstanding accomplishment in technical management or engineering achievement in aerospace technology". The award consists of a perpetual trophy on permanent display at SETP headquarters, and a smaller replica presented to the recipient. It is named after General James Doolittle, famous for the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo during World War II.The Doolittle Trophy is a bronze form melding an aerodynamic shape, a stylized spacecraft, and a winged human figure. The aerodynamic shape stands for the scientists and engineers who provide technological breakthroughs. The spacecraft represents continued growth of the aerospace industry. The human figure represents the pilot who guides the test effort to reach its goals. A helmet and goggles rest on the base of the trophy symbolizing the tools of the early test pilot and Jimmy Doolittle himself. Plaques bearing the name of each honoree are mounted around the sides of the teak base.John Birch (missionary)
John Morrison Birch (May 28, 1918 – August 25, 1945) was a United States American Baptist minister and missionary, and United States Army Air Forces captain who was a U.S. military intelligence officer in China during World War II. Birch was killed in a confrontation with Chinese Communist soldiers a few days after the war ended. He was posthumously awarded the Army Distinguished Service Medal.
The John Birch Society, an American anti-communist organization, was named in his honor by Robert H. W. Welch Jr. in 1958. Welch considered Birch to be a martyr and the first casualty of the Cold War. Birch's parents joined the Society as honorary Life Members.Jonna Doolittle Hoppes
Jonna Doolittle Hoppes (born Jonna Doolittle) is an American author whose works include oral histories and biographies. The granddaughter of aviation pioneer and United States Air Force General Jimmy Doolittle, she is an enthusiastic speaker and represents the Doolittle family at events throughout the world.
Hoppes' works celebrate the veterans and civilians who defended their countries and document their stories that would otherwise be lost. Her publications have been favorably reviewed by various trade magazines.Kohler Alpha
The Kohler Alpha is an American, mid-wing, V-tailed, FAI Open Class single seat glider that was designed and built by Spud Kohler of Cleveland, Ohio.Laird Solution
The Laird Solution, also called the Laird LC-DW Solution, Laird LC-DW300 Super Solution and Laird LC-DW500 Super Solution, was touted as being the "solution" to the problem of the Travel Air Mystery Ship. The Solution won the 1930 Thompson Trophy race days.Northwest African Strategic Air Force
The Northwest African Strategic Air Force (NASAF) was a sub-command of the Northwest African Air Forces (NAAF) which itself was a sub-command of the Mediterranean Air Command (MAC). These new Allied air force organizations were created at the Casablanca Conference in January 1943 to promote cooperation between the British Royal Air Force (RAF), the American United States Army Air Forces (USAAF), and their respective ground and naval forces in the North African and Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO). Effective February 18, 1943, the NASAF and other MAC commands existed until December 10, 1943 when MAC was disbanded and the Mediterranean Allied Air Forces (MAAF) were established. Major General Jimmy Doolittle was the commander of NASAF. However, during at least one critical period of the Tunisian Campaign at the end of February, 1943, General Carl Spaatz, the commander of NAAF, placed most of the strategic bombers at the disposal of Air Marshal Sir Arthur Coningham, commander of the Northwest African Tactical Air Force.The components of NASAF at the time of the Allied invasion of Sicily (Operation Husky) on July 10, 1943 are illustrated below.
The 2686th Medium Bombardment Wing (Provincial) was activated on June 6, 1943 at Sedrata, Algeria and disbanded on September 3, 1943 at Ariana, Tunisia. Although the 42nd Bombardment Wing (Medium) is sometimes used to refer to the wing during this period, the 42nd Wing was actually the successor of the 2686th Wing.Richard E. Cole
Richard Eugene Cole (September 7, 1915 – April 9, 2019) was an American career officer in the United States Air Force. He was one of the airmen who took part in the Doolittle Raid on April 18, 1942, serving as the co-pilot to Jimmy Doolittle in the lead airplane of the raid. He eventually reached the rank of lieutenant colonel.
Cole remained in China after the raid until June 1943, and served again in the China Burma India Theater from October 1943 until June 1944. He later served as Operations Advisor to the Venezuelan Air Force from 1959 to 1962. He retired from the Air Force in 1966 and became the last living Doolittle Raider in 2016.Stan Stokes
50 years as a full time artist and still going strong!
Born and raised in Southern California, Stan was surrounded by aviation of all kinds. His local airport was Brackett Field in La Verne where he would eventually earn his pilot’s license. A little further away was the beginnings of what is now Planes of Fame Air Museum at Chino, CA. Stan remembers that “you could head out from our home in any direction and find a great airport”!
The great thing about being a young airplane nut in the late 50’s and early 60’s was that you could walk around an airport, touching the airplanes and as long as you looked like you were behaving yourself, nobody really cared. This let a young person get to know flying machines in a very up close and personal way that is much harder to do now.
Stan’s other main interests were building model airplanes and drawing pretty much everything. Both of these “hobbies” would be the foundation for his lifetime career.
In the first week of college, in a beginner’s art class, Stan was given a complete set of acrylic paints. Within a few days, he was developing a strong interest in painting at would quickly develop into a passion. In the next couple of years, painting became the driving force in Stan’s life. But, he quickly realized that, to make a career of it, art needed to be treated as a business. Otherwise, you will eventually be forced to get a real job!
For the next several years, the young artist’s life was spent traveling across the Western United States doing “street shows”.These were art shows in malls, parks, sidewalks and everywhere artists were allowed to show their works. One of the first mysteries that needed to be solved was the question of what people would buy that Stan also like to paint. For awhile, the answer seemed to be landscapes. These were landscapes of a close in, rather intimate nature. With these paintings, Stan started to be noticed in the art world and he was able to get into a few good galleries, leaving the “street shows” behind. This enabled him to have a study income and a brighter future as a full time artist.
Stan hadn’t left his passion for airplanes behind. During this time, Stan somehow managed to purchase an airplane, a 7KCAB Citabria. He still doesn’t know how he managed to do this, but he did. With this airplane, he learned to fly aerobatics and how to manage a “tail dragger” type of airplane. Being half in the art world and half in the aviation world, Stan started to realize that there were quite a few people out there that liked aviation related art. In 1977, the two passions came together and he entered the aviation art world.
By 1980, Stan was now full time creating paintings for a growing list of clients. The following year, he was introduced to General Jimmy Doolittle. The two agreed to have Stan do a painting of the Doolittle Raiders B-25s taking off from the USS Hornet, ultimately heading for Tokyo. Part of their agreement was to have Stan produce a limited edition print of the painting and General Doolittle would sign the prints. All of this was done and General Doolittle gave all of his royalties from the project to the Boys and Girls Club. General Jimmy Doolittle was a first class person!
This was followed by Stan’s limited edition prints co-signed by Chuck Yeager, Pappy Boyington, The Flying Tigers (AVG) and many more. The last limited edition prints that Stan produced were a series of prints co-signed by twenty of the famed Tuskegee Airmen.
In the winter of 1984-85, Stan enter the Smithsonian national Air and Space Museum’s “Golden Age of Flight” art competition. The painting he entered was of Jimmie Mattern’s Lockheed 12A Electra Jr. Stan personally knew Mr. Mattern and the Lockheed 12A was a great looking airplane. When the Smithsonian announced the winner, Stan had taken first place!
In 1981, Stan met Bob and Jo Pond. Bob Pond had just started his collection of WWII aircraft that later became the nucleus of what is now the Palm Springs Air Museum. Stan was there as Bob proceeded to collect all of the aircraft that he had a passion for. That allowed Stan to get up close and personal with all of the neat aircraft of that era and rides in most of them. It was a thrilling time and very educational!
Now, all these years later, Stan lives in the Palm Desert, CA area with his wife Joan. He is a fixture at the Palm Springs Air Museum having been with it from its beginnings in 1996.
Stan’s paintings are in the collections of:
Palm Springs Air Museum - Resident Artist - portraits, aircraft paintings, murals, and nose art.
NASA 15 paintings including the SR-71, all of the Lifting Bodies including the HL-20, the X-29, Space Shuttle Orbiters - Endeavour, Challenger, Discovery, and Atlantis.
Neil Armstrong Flight Research Center, Edwards AFB
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
National Museum of Naval Aviation, Pensacola, FL
USAF Art Collection
George H.W. Bush Presidential Library
Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library
Ronald Reagan Presidential Library - “The History of the Flying White House” (Air Force One) rural being 12 feet X 120 feet.
San Diego Air and Space Museum - have completed 65 portraits for their “Hall of Fame” with 7 more in the works plus several other non-portrait paintings.
Monterey Maritime Museum
89th Presidential Airlift Wing (Air Force One)
Museum of Natural History, New York, NY
Blue Angels Foundation
Planes of Fame, Chino, CA
And numerous private collectorsThirty Seconds Over Tokyo
Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo is a 1944 American war film released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It is based on the historic Doolittle Raid, America's first retaliatory air strike against Japan four months after the December 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Mervyn LeRoy directed Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo and Sam Zimbalist produced the film. The screenplay by Dalton Trumbo was based on the 1943 book of the same name, by Captain Ted W. Lawson, a pilot on the raid. The film stars Van Johnson as Lawson, Phyllis Thaxter as his wife Ellen, Robert Walker as Corporal David Thatcher, Robert Mitchum as Lieutenant Bob Gray and Spencer Tracy as Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Doolittle, the man who planned and led the raid.
In the book Lawson gave an eyewitness account of the training, the mission, and the aftermath as experienced by his crew and others who flew the mission on April 18, 1942. Lawson piloted "The Ruptured Duck", the seventh of 16 B-25s to take off from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet. The film accurately depicted the raid and used actual wartime footage of the bombers.Tony Jannus Award
The Tony Jannus Award recognizes outstanding individual achievement in scheduled commercial aviation by airline executives, inventors and manufacturers, and government leaders. The award is conferred annually by the Tony Jannus Distinguished Aviation Society and was first bestowed in 1964 in Tampa, Florida, U.S. Its namesake, aviation pioneer Tony Jannus (1889–October 12, 1916), piloted the inaugural flight of the St. Petersburg–Tampa Airboat Line on January 1, 1914, the first scheduled commercial airline flight in the world using heavier-than-air aircraft. In addition to preserving the legacy of Tony Jannus, the non-profit Society also offers financial assistance to college students pursuing studies in aviation and conducts an annual essay contest for high school students to encourage careers in aviation.
Past recipients of the award include such famed luminaries as Eddie Rickenbacker, Donald Douglas, Jimmy Doolittle, C. R. Smith (the founder of American Airlines), William A. Patterson (president of United Airlines 1934–1966), and Chuck Yeager. Those so honored are enshrined at the St. Petersburg Museum of History's First Airline Pavilion. The Museum, located 100 yards (91 m) from the site of the inaugural flight's takeoff on January 1, 1914, also has an operational replica of the Benoist XIV airplane flown by Jannus that day. On January 29, 2011, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics dedicated an historic site plaque on the museum's grounds, commemorating the site of the world’s first regularly scheduled airline.Travel Air Type R Mystery Ship
The Type R "Mystery Ships" were a series of wire-braced, low-wing racing airplanes built by the Travel Air company in the late 1920s and early 1930s. They were so called, because the first three aircraft of the series (R614K, R613K, B11D) were built entirely in secrecy.
In total, five Type Rs were built and flown by some of the most notable flyers of the day, including Jimmy Doolittle, Doug Davis, Frank Hawks, and Pancho Barnes, not only in races but also at air shows across the United States, and most notably, by Hawks in Europe.Travis Air Force Base
Travis Air Force Base (IATA: SUU, ICAO: KSUU, FAA LID: SUU) is a United States Air Force air base under the operational control of the Air Mobility Command (AMC), located three miles (5 km) east of the central business district of Fairfield, in Solano County, California, United States.Situated in the San Francisco Bay Area and known as the "Gateway to the Pacific," Travis Air Force Base handles more cargo and passenger traffic through its airport than any other military air terminal in the United States. The base has a long and proud history of supporting humanitarian airlift operations at home and around the world. Today, Travis AFB includes approximately 7,260 active USAF military personnel, 4,250 Air Force Reserve personnel and 3,770 civilians.Travis AFB has a major impact on the community as a number of military families and retirees have chosen to make Fairfield their permanent home. Travis AFB is the largest employer in the city and Solano County as well, and the massive Travis workforce has a local economic impact of more than $1 billion annually. The base also contributes many highly skilled people to the local labor pool.The base's host unit, the 60th Air Mobility Wing, is the largest wing in the Air Force's Air Mobility Command, with a versatile fleet of 26 C-5 Galaxies, 27 KC-10 Extenders, and 13 C-17 Globemaster III aircraft.
In addition, the base's former Strategic Air Command Alert Facility is now a U.S. Navy complex that typically supports two transient Navy E-6B Mercury TACAMO aircraft assigned to Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron THREE (VQ-3) Detachment and normally home-based at Tinker AFB, Oklahoma.
The base is also host to David Grant USAF Medical Center, a 265-bed, $200 million Air Force teaching hospital, which serves both in-service and retired military personnel.Travis Air Force Base Heritage Center
The Travis Air Force Base Heritage Center, founded as the Travis Air Museum and later known as the Jimmy Doolittle Air & Space Museum, is an aviation museum located at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California. The museum houses 35+ aircraft displays and various other informative artifacts.