Doolittle Tokyo Raiders

Jerry Kenney

Just a few weeks ago, Doolittle Raider, David Thatcher passed away at his home in Montana. 


Thatcher was just 20 years old when he flew on the infamous bombing mission that is credited with changing the course of WWII for the Allies.

Lt. Col. Edward Saylor Talks to press in 2013, hours before the four remaining Doolittle Raiders raise their final toast.
Jerry Kenney/WYSO

In 2013, the last four survivors the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders gathered at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.  They raised a final toast in honor of their accomplishment and to the men who died before them.

On Wednesday, Lt. Col. Edward J. Saylor, one of the final four, died in his home state of Washington. Saylor was the flight engineer of Crew #15 on the famous Doolittle Tokyo Raid. A mission that was said to change the course of World War II.

On April 18, 1942, in response to the Japanese attack the previous December on Pearl Harbor, 80 men in 16 B-25 bombers took off on a secret mission to bomb Japan. Led by James H. "Jimmy" Doolittle, they became known as the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders.

On Saturday, three of the four remaining Raiders met for what is likely to be the last time at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.

Dan Patterson

Four months after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, 80 men took off from an aircraft carrier on a top-secret mission to bomb Japan. They were led by Lt. Col. James H. "Jimmy"
Doolittle, and soon after, they became known as the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders.  Saturday, November 9th, 2013 will mark the last time survivors of the raid will gather together to honor their fallen comrades. 


One of the five Doolittle Raiders expected to attend this week’s 70th anniversary gathering at Wright-Patt Air Force Base will not be able to attend.

Wright-Patt’s web-site says Lt. Col. Robert L. Hite, co-pilot of Bomber 16, will not attend due to health reasons. The World War II vintage bomber planes began landing at Wright-Patt this morning.  Tomorrow 21 Bombers are expected to take part in a fly over as part of the 70th anniversary commemoration of the Doolittle Tokyo Raid.

DAYTON, OH - A reunion of the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders who made a daring U.S. air strike on Japan after the attack on Pearl Harbor will be held next April in Dayton. Officials at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force say as many as five members of the group of 80 flyers are expected to attend.