They bombed Tokyo 75 and years ago
They once were among the most universally admired and revered men in the United States .. There were 80 of the Raiders in April 1942, when they carried out one of the most courageous and heart-stirring
military operations in this nation’s history. The mere mention of their unit’s name, in those years, would bring tears to the eyes of grateful Americans.
Now only four survive.
After Japan’s sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, with the United States reeling and wounded, something dramatic was needed to turn the war effort around.
Even though there were no friendly airfields close enough to Japan for the United States to launch a retaliation, a daring plan was devised. Sixteen B-25s
were modified so that they could take off from the deck of an aircraft carrier. This had never before been tried — sending such big, heavy bombers from a carrier.
The 16 five-man crews, under the command of Lt. Col. James Doolittle, who himself flew the lead plane off the USS Hornet, knew that they would not be able to return to the carrier.
They would have to hit Japan and then hope to make it to China for a safe landing.
But on the day of the raid, the Japanese military caught wind of the plan. The Raiders were told that they would have to take off from much farther out in the Pacific Ocean than
they had counted on. They were told that because of this they would not have enough fuel to make it to safety.
And those men went anyway.
They bombed Tokyo and then flew as far as they could. Four planes crash-landed; 11 more crews bailed out, and three of the Raiders died. Eight more were captured; three were executed.
Another died of starvation in a Japanese prison camp. One crew made it to Russia.
The Doolittle Raiders sent a message from the United States to its enemies, and to the rest of the world: We will fight. And, no matter what it takes, we will win.
Of the 80 Raiders, 62 survived the war. They were celebrated as national heroes, models of bravery. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer produced a motion picture based
on the raid; “Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo,” starring Spencer Tracy and Van Johnson, was a patriotic and emotional box-office hit, and the phrase became part of the national lexicon. In the movie-theater previews for the film, MGM proclaimed that it was presenting
the story “with supreme pride.”
Beginning in 1946, the surviving Raiders have held a reunion each April, to commemorate the mission. The reunion is in a different city each year. In 1959, the city of Tucson,
Arizona, as a gesture of respect and gratitude, presented the Doolittle Raiders with a set of 80 silver goblets. Each goblet was engraved with the name of a Raider.
Every year, a wooden display case bearing all 80 goblets is transported to the reunion city. Each time a Raider passes away, his goblet is turned upside down in the case at the
next reunion, as his old friends bear solemn witness.
Also in the wooden case is a bottle of 1896 Hennessy Very Special cognac. The year is not happenstance: 1896 was when Jimmy Doolittle was born.There has always been a plan: When there are only two surviving Raiders, they would open the bottle, at last drink from it, and toast their comrades who preceded them in death.
As 2013 began, there were five living Raiders; then, in February, Tom Griffin passed away at age 96.
What a man he was. After bailing out of his plane over a mountainous Chinese forest after the Tokyo raid, he became ill with malaria, and almost died. When he recovered, he was
sent to Europe to fly more combat missions. He was shot down, captured, and spent 22 months in a German prisoner of war camp.
The selflessness of these men, the sheer guts .. there was a passage in the Cincinnati Enquirer obituary for Mr. Griffin that, on the surface, had nothing to do with the war,
but that was emblematic of the depth of his sense of duty and devotion:
“When his wife became ill and needed to go into a nursing home, he visited her every day. He walked from his house to the nursing home, fed his wife and
at the end of the day brought home her clothes. At night, he washed and ironed her clothes. Then he walked them up to her room the next morning. He did that for three years until her death in 2005.”
So now, out of the original 80, only four Raiders remain: Dick Cole (Doolittle’s co-pilot on the Tokyo raid), Robert Hite, Edward Saylor and David Thatcher. All are in their 90s.
They have decided that there are too few of them for the public reunions to continue.
The events in Fort Walton Beach marked the end. It has come full circle; Florida’s nearby Eglin Field was where the Raiders trained in secrecy for the
Tokyo mission. The town planned to do all it can to honor the men: a six-day celebration of their valor, including luncheons, a dinner and a parade.
Do the men ever wonder if those of us for whom they helped save the country have tended to it in a way that is worthy of their sacrifice? They don’t talk about that, at least
not around other people. But if you find yourself near Fort Walton Beach this week, and if you should encounter any of the Raiders, you might want to offer them a word of thanks. I can tell you from first hand observation that they appreciate hearing that they are remembered.
The men have decided that after this final public reunion they will wait until a later date — sometime this year — to get together once more, informally
and in absolute privacy. That is when they will open the bottle of brandy. The years are flowing by too swiftly now; they are not going to wait until there are only two of them.
They will fill the four remaining upturned goblets. And raise them in a toast to those who are gone.
Their 70th Anniversary Photo
Trieu Phong, Quang Tri (26 June 2017) — RENEW-NPA teams today safely destroyed a U.S. 750-pound bomb found in a rice paddy in Ha Tay Village of Trieu An Commune, about one km from Cua Viet port, formerly a logistics and support base for U.S. Marine units along the DMZ.
The demolition task was triggered by a request from the Province Military Command for RENEW-NPA to respond to discovery of the bomb which was reported by Trieu An Commune authorities on Sunday.
A group of men searching for scrap metal found the bomb buried deeply in a field where rice had just been harvested. Local residents who saw the activity realized the men were strangers, from outside the area. Remembering the risk education lessons that all Quang Tri residents receive, these at Dr. Jim Langworthy’s Library in Trieu Phong Dedicated November 2003, the neighbors promptly notified the village chief who immediately intervened and stopped the scrap metal collectors from any further activity. He then alerted commune authorities Trieu An Commune assigned a paramilitary team to guard the bomb until RENEW-NPA teams could show up and take responsibility.
On Monday morning, RENEW-NPA deployed EOD Team No. 1 led by Team Leader Le Xuan Tung and National Technical Officer Bui Trong Hong, a retired PAVN colonel, to Ha Tay Village.
The bomb was identified as one of the M177 series, a free-fall, unguided general purpose bomb which was dropped here by U.S. military aircraft during years of bombing missions. At least eight million tons of bombs were used by the U.S. military in Viet Nam, of which the Pentagon estimates about 10 percent did not detonate as designed.
The M117 is being loaded onto the team’s truck for transportation to the central demolition site.
After examining the bomb carefully, Col. Hong determined that the two fuzes on the bomb were both sufficiently damaged to render them harmless. Therefore he directed the team to transport the bomb to the central demolition site for disposal. A tripod pulley had to be used because of the burden of loading such a heavy bomb onto the truck.
Five kilometers away at the RENEW-NPA central demolition site, members of Technical Survey Teams 16 and 17, and EOD Team No. 3, were building a special demolition pit. At 09:30, the M117 bomb was unloaded from the truck at the demolition site.
Under Col. Hong’s guidance, all the team members worked together to secure the bomb in the demolition pit, with assistance from the tripod pulley. The bomb was successfully detonated around 11:30 a.m.
This was the third U.S. aerial bomb to be safely destroyed by RENEW-NPA teams during the first half of 2016. Most of the bombs were deeply buried, and were uncovered by local people who were searching for scrap metal.
Bay City Veterans, Lao Embassy April 30, 2016
Bay Veterans Foundation Makes Monetary Donation to Children’s Library International
On April 30, Bay Veterans Foundation made a monetary donation to Children’s Library International (CLI) at a ceremony held during the celebration of the Laotian Lunar New Year 2559 at the Embassy of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic in Washington, DC. The check for $500 was presented by Bay Veterans Foundation Board and Children’s Library International Advisory Board member Tim Eckstein to Chuck Theusch, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of CLI with His Excellency Mai Sayavongs, the Lao Ambassador to the United States, and Ross Worley, Founder of the Library of Laos Project, in attendance.
Children’s Library International whose central office is in Milwaukee, WI, is non-profit organization founded in 1999 by Chuck Theusch, a Vietnam Veteran; building the first Library in Vietnam’s Quang Ngai Province. Ross Worley, a retired Army Special Forces Sergeant Major, funded the growth of the Library Project to Laos in 2002. CLI has since partnered with People to People International founded by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956, for the purpose of creating global educational and humanitarian initiatives. Mary Eisenhower, granddaughter of President Eisenhower, is CEO Emeritus of People to People International. CLI has built 34 children’s libraries across Southeast Asia in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. The construction of more libraries and expansion of existing facilities is underway. Theusch personally oversees the library projects, spending 6 to 8 months yearly in Southeast Asia.
Chuck is an advocate for the Congressional Medal of Honor Character Development Program (CDP) which is a training program for teachers, administrators, youth groups and civic leaders. The emphasis for this training is to equip attendees with skills to help youth to acquire the values of Courage, Commitment, Citizenship, Sacrifice, Integrity and Patriotism through modeling the behavior of Medal of Honor Recipients – one of whom is in attendance at these one-day training sessions. This training has been conducted twice thus far in the Great Lakes Bay Region, with another scheduled for June 21, 2016 at the Saginaw Intermediate School District Transitions Center on Fashion Square Boulevard. Mr. Theusch attended our program in June 2015 and will be attending the June 21, 2016 session. He will again be participating and supporting other related events in our community during his stay, including the Re-Dedication of Battery Park on Tuesday June 21st. The Character Development Program Planning Team, which plans and helps organize these training programs as well as some of the other related events, functions as an ad hoc Committee of the Bay Veterans Foundation.
During the two day trip to Washington, DC, the Children’s Library International Delegation to the Laotian Embassy conducted a memorial service at the US Navy Seabees Memorial at the entrance to Arlington National Cemetery where Tim Eckstein read the poem “A Creed” by Edwin Markham. Children’s Library International believes that the concept of the citizen soldier who, “With Compassion for Others, Builds and Fights for Peace with Freedom” as represented by the Seabee Memorial is an ideal for all Americans to embrace.
Chuck Theusch, Ambassador Sayavongs LAO PDR, Dr. Tim Eckstein
Bay City Veterans Donation $500
Laos Embassy, Washington DC New Year’s (2559)
April 30, 2016
Many Thanks for this donation to CLI Library of Vietnam*Laos*Cambodia by the Bay Veterans Foundation!
Ross Worley, Founder
901 West Maple Street
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53204 USA
USA 414-507-6880414-507-6880 VN 84 0904 100979
Left to right:
1. Boume Ome Rattanavong, Finance Director Hewlett Packard, Laotian Entrepreneur
2. Ross Worley, Special Forces Sgt. Maj. (Ret), Founder of Children’s Libraries International
3. Chuck Theusch, President and CEO of Children’s Libraries International
4. His Excellency Mai Sayavongs, Laotian Ambassador to the United States
5. Tim Eckstein, Bay Veterans Foundation
Also attached, photos from our Memorial Service at the Seabee Memorial at Arlington Cemetery.
Others not specifically named in the photos from the memorial and the New Years Celebration (Laotian) are members of the CLI Delegation.
Contributed by Dr.Tim Eckstein, assisted by Chuck Theush
April 2017, This is a video of a 500 lb. bomb that was detonated yesterday after it was discovered by RENEW that a local villager was trying to sell it. I visited RENEW as part of my trip in December. Dr. Tim Eckstein
RENEW, our friends, disarmed a 500 LB Bomb in Trieu Phong, site of Dr Jim Langworthy’s Library in Quang Tri Province. Here’s the Video.
This Library is a an Education Site for Unexploded Bombs and Ordnance thanks to the investment of Dr. Jim!.
Congressional Medal of Honor Character Development Program
The Congressional Medal of Honor, awarded for valor and conspicuous gallantry above and beyond the call of duty, was first presented to Union Soldiers in 1862 during the Civil War. In 1890, Medal of Honor Recipients (a term they prefer rather than “winner”) formed a society (referred to then as a “Legion”) comprised exclusively of MOH Recipients. This organization has evolved over time becoming better organized, but it remains functionally the same. Throughout the years, they have gathered for purposes of camaraderie and mutual support. More importantly, they began the tradition of traveling to visit schools and service organizations to promote values consistent with citizenship and patriotism. In many cases, these Recipients covered their own expenses and contributions of time. Finally, in 1996, an entrepreneur and Korean War Veteran named John Rangos, Sr. encountered an MOH Recipient passing through an airport, struck up a conversation, and recognized the need for a more formal and structured organization to promote this activity featuring our nation’s most valued military heroes. He thus formed the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation, which became part of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.
From its early days, the Foundation has enjoyed considerable corporate support. One of these sponsors began the practice of incorporating formal Character Development Training, based on the values associated with the Recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor, into their standardized training for managers. The results from this initiative are considered to have been very effective and they continue this practice to this day. This success spawned the idea of developing a Character Development Program curriculum for middle and high school students along with a training program for teachers emphasizing the values of Citizenship, Courage, Commitment, Sacrifice, Integrity and Patriotism. The process of creating the curriculum was completed by teachers for teachers and the first CDP training program was conducted in 2010. This training has now been conducted at about 300 sites.
In August 2012, Colonel Roger H. C. Donlon, a Medal of Honor Recipient, challenged Bay Veterans Foundation Board Member Tim Eckstein to implement the CDP Training Program in Michigan. With the support of Craig Goslin, President of the Saginaw Spirit which recognizes veterans at each of their home games, and after laying the groundwork over a period of nearly three years, the first local Character Development Training session was held in June 2015 at the Saginaw Intermediate School District Transitions Center. It was a successful event and was attended by 50 local teachers, administrators, counselors, youth group and civic leaders. A second was held at the SISD facility in November, and a third session is scheduled for Tuesday June 21, 2016 at the Transitions Center.
Colonel Donlon has attended both of the Great Lakes Bay Region’s previous CDP training sessions and will be present at the June 21st session. During those previous visits Donlon also participated in numerous activities including: Walleyes for Warriors, Warriors Rally, Veterans Golf Outing, Saginaw Spirit Veterans Recognition Night, Great Lakes Loons pre-game ceremonies; Michigan Military and Space Heroes Museum, and Aleda E. Lutz VA Medical Center visits and tours; also several Boy Scout, Elks Lodge, and area school assemblies; and finally, several radio and TV interviews.
The Colonel has graciously accepted an appointment as Honorary Chairman of the Bay Veterans Foundation and will conduct the formal Re-Dedication of Battery Park in downtown Bay City on Tuesday, June 21 at 5:30 pm. The extensive planning for this and other related events, such as a cookout for veterans at the USS Edson on Thursday June 23, has been coordinated by an ad hoc Committee of the Bay Veterans Foundation.
The Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation has recognized the opportunity to expand access to the valuable lessons of Citizenship, Courage, Commitment, Sacrifice, Integrity and Patriotism and is developing modules with applications for grade schools. With the support of the Bay Veterans Foundation and the entire community, we expect to continue a strong relationship with the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation and to continue to offer the Character Development Training program locally as well as throughout the State of Michigan.
For more information, or to register for one of the CDP training sessions which are conducted throughout the US, set your browser to www.cmohedu.org and click on the “Events” tab. There is no cost for registration, training materials, breakfast or lunch.
Roger Hugh Charles Donlon, C.M.H.
Colonel Roger Donlon was born and raised in Saugerties, NY. His military career began in 1953 with enlisted service in both the Air Force and the Army. Commissioned through Officer Candidate School as an Infantry Officer in 1959, he spent the next 29 years serving in assignments based on a triad of his specialties as an Infantry, Special Forces and Foreign Area Officer.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his own life, above and beyond the call of duty on 6 July 1964, Colonel Donlon became the first American soldier to be awarded the Medal of Honor in Vietnam.
Military and civilian education include: The Special Warfare Course; Infantry Advanced Course; Command and General Staff College; Foreign Service Institute, U.S. Army Institute for Military Assistance, School of International Studies; and the Army War College. Colonel Donlon received a BGS from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and an MS in Government from Campbell University. He holds an Honorary Master of Military Arts and Sciences from Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas and an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas.
Colonel Donlon is the author of BEYOND NAM DONG, a self-published autobiography. He is also the co-author of OUTPOST OF FREEDOM, published by McGraw-Hill and condensed for publication in the October 1965 issue of the Saturday Evening Post, which featured his picture on the cover.
Since retiring from the Army in December of 1988 Colonel Donlon has served on the Board of Directors/Trustees of People-to-People International. He has also been a Scholarship Friends Executive Committee member at the University of St. Mary in Leavenworth and an Honorary Member of Rotary International. He is a founding Trustee of the CGSC Foundation. In May of 1995 he was inducted into the Fort Leavenworth Hall of Fame, the only non-General Officer to hold this distinction in the 20th century. In May of 1997 Colonel Donlon became the first recipient of the Outstanding Alumnus Award at the U.S. Army War College. Appointed in May of 2004, Colonel Donlon served as the “Honorary Colonel” of the First Special Forces Regiment until April of 2010. The National Special Forces Association recognized him with The St. Philip Neri (Gold) Award. He was awarded the Order of St. Maurice by the National Infantry Association.
Colonel Donlon and his wife, Norma, were married on 9 November 1968. They have five children and six grandchildren.
Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum, Home of the USS Edson DD-946
1680 Martin Street, Bay City, MI 48706, Phone: 989-684-3946989-684-3946
USS EDSON BERTHED IN BAY CITY IS TRIBUTE TO NATION’S NAVAL MIGHT & BAY CITY’S SHIPBUILDING HERITAGE
A tangible connection to America’s naval might, and a tribute to the Defoe Shipbuilding Company that operated from 1905 to 1977 in Bay City, the mighty warship USS Edson DD-946 rides at anchor near the Independence Bridge spanning the Saginaw River separating the City of Bay City and Bangor Township.
The Edson is a 418-foot long Forrest Sherman class destroyer built by the Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine, and launched on January 4, 1958. She is named for Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Merritt Edson, a hero in World War II. Edson is similarto a series of destroyers, including four ships for the Royal Australian Navy, built by Defoe in the late 1950s and early 1960s. After 10 months of sea trials, Edson was commissioned into service on November 7, 1958, and served more than three decades, until December 15, 1988, when she was retired from active service.
Edson ‘s home port was Long Beach, California, when she was assigned to the Western Pacific/Far East. Operating in the Taiwan Strait and off the coast of Vietnam, Edson received three Navy Unit Commendation including one for exceptionally meritorious service in the Gulf of Tonkin in 1964. She earned the sobriquet “The Grey Ghost of the Vietnamese Coast” for her heroic service.
Although damaged by a fire onboard in 1974, the Edson was repaired and returned to action and received more commendations for her role in the evacuation of Phnom Penh and Saigon in April 1975. Her awards included the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Navy Unit Commendation, Vietnam Service Medal, National Defense Medal, Combat Action Medal and Meritorious Unit Commendation.
The USS Edson was on public display as a museum ship, part of the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum in New York City, for 16 years, prior to being returned to the U.S. Navy in 2004. After complete hull repair and other renovations, the Navy approved the application of the non-profit Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum in competition with other locations. In a much heralded 2,500 mile trip, she was towed here from Philadelphia through the St. Lawrence Seaway in 2013 and rests at a dock near where shipbuilding started here in 1787. Historians estimate that 888 vessels were constructed along the Saginaw River.
Edson has become a popular destination attraction and is a magnet for ghost hunters studying the tales of seamen who died aboard ship and who reportedly still haunt the vessel. She is also an educational asset for local schools and is toured regularly by students as well as visitors on tour buses from around the Midwest. Many naval and military veterans, including former Edson crew members, and community members, volunteer regularly to maintain the ship.
Contributed by David Rodgers