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Last Doolittle Raiders make final toast (daytondailynews.com)
26 points by pwg on Nov 11, 2013 | hide | past | favorite | 16 comments

It totally amazes me that Hollywood has never remade the movie about Doolittle's Raiders. It has all the elements of a great movie:

1. A crazy idea by a White House staffer leads to the mission

2. Doolittle needs clearance by FDR to be allowed to fly

3. Doolittle's search for the best pilots leads him to recruit some total misfits

4. They're forced to launch early after being sighted by the Japanese picket boat

5. The raid over Tokyo so shocks the Japanese that it leads them to overreact to the threat, pull a carrier group back to defend the home island and the disaster of a decision by Admiral Yamamoto to attack Midway

6. Japan kills 250,000 Chinese civilians looking for the Raiders

Its probably the best story about America's greatest generation in WWII yet is unknown to many young people.

Here's some actual footage of the raid:


I first heard about the Doolittle raid from the movie Pearl Harbor. Despite that movie's, ahem, flaws, it was an impressive story of fearlessness, ingenuity, and focus.

Fast forward a decade, I visited the USS Hornet (http://www.uss-hornet.org/) in Alameda, CA, a decommissioned aircraft carrier that's now a museum, and found out that the Doolittle raid launched from the Hornet! (They also picked up and quarantined the Apollo 11 capsule and crew). Very, very worth a visit.

There were two U.S.S. Hornets in WWII: CV-8 and CV-12 The Doolittle raid was launched from CV-8 a Yorktown class carrier. CV-8 was sunk at the Battle of Santa Cruz Islands in 1942. The name was resurrected for CV-12 in 1943. CV-12 served until 1970.

Just trying to imagine how it must have felt to be in one of the B-25's, just before the launch straight into the heart of an enemy - it boggles my mind

I am very glad we did. And yet I also hope we may never have to again.

I can't help feeling that as these events "close down" and things like the death of Harry Patch [1] that it really is the End of an Era. I realise that phrase is completely overused but there will be a time during my lifetime when there are no WWII veterans alive, and a lot of knowledge will pass out of the world.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Patch

Those guys are and were courageous and competent and deserve recognition, but I have to ponder at making such a spectacle of celebrating people who dropped explosives on people, people who are now our allies. We are an incredibly militaristic society.

I think I support your sentiment in general, but in this particular case, the struggle against Imperial Japan was about as close to a storybook fight of good versus evil as we're likely to find, and I think celebrating those who put a stop to it is worthwhile.

I don't disagree with that, but celebrating violence is always curious to me.

I've always taken it as celebrating bravery.

If you're looking for examples of "an incredibly militaristic society", you might want to start with, say, Prussia under Frederick the Great, or Imperial Japan circa 1942. Once you've familiarized yourself with at least those two, you'll be better equipped than you are now to recognize the risibility of using that phrase to describe the United States in 2013.

Better equipped than I am now? You assume to know quite a bit about me from a simple sentence.

Not at all, and no assumption is required; from the sentence in question, I conclude merely that you don't know what "an incredibly militaristic society" looks like. Otherwise, you wouldn't have mistaken the United States in 2013 for anything of the sort.

Maybe we don't all go around wearing uniforms or worshipping the emperor, but our police is becoming more militarized, and we definitely are people who celebrate war. Finding me "risible" based on a harmless observation probably means you are quite emotional on the topic so I'm not inclined to respond to you any more.

It was (and is) the observation I found risible, not the person who made it. And of course we celebrate war! Who, having examined the public reaction to our recent outings in Afghanistan and Iraq, could possibly draw any other conclusion?

I'd argue that Sparta trumps them both, but I agree with your sentiment. Clearly the US in particular and western countries in general are more leaning toward the Eastern Germany model of internal surveillance, except with SIGINT instead of HUMINT.

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