Doolittle Raiders---The final toast

This is a discussion on Doolittle Raiders---The final toast within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; It's the cup of brandy that no one wants to drink. In April, 2013 in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, the surviving Doolittle Raiders gathered publicly ...

Results 1 to 15 of 15
Like Tree18Likes
  • 11 Post By Patti
  • 2 Post By Stoveman
  • 1 Post By Arejay
  • 1 Post By Once
  • 3 Post By OldVet

Thread: Doolittle Raiders---The final toast

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array Patti's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    The Show Me State
    Posts
    2,641

    Doolittle Raiders---The final toast

    It's the cup of brandy that no one wants to drink.
    In April, 2013 in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, the surviving Doolittle Raiders gathered publicly for the last time.



    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 the 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 Raid 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 emblematizes 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 this week will mark 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 is planning 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 firsthand 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 -- some time 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

    PLEASE SEND THIS ON TO EVERYONE IN YOUR ADDRESS BOOK, ESPECIALLY TO THOSE WHO WERE TOO YOUNG TO KNOW ABOUT THESE GUYS. THIS SHOULD BE READ BY EVERY KID IN GRADE AND HIGH SCHOOL SO THEY KNOW WHAT HAPPENED.
    Arejay, niks, Oldpsufan and 8 others like this.
    Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance and the gospel of envy. — Winston Churchill

  2. Remove Ads

  3. #2
    Ex Member Array IndianaSig's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Indianapolis
    Posts
    733
    Excellent post. These men were among America's Greatest Generation....a place in history that time has now all but passed by. May everyone who participated in WWII, and those who lived through it here at home, know that they were America's last, finest generation that upheld all that made us the greatest success the world has yet known. It makes the downward spiral we live through today that much more frustrating. We have worked tirelessly to destroy what they gave all to save.
    Last edited by IndianaSig; September 27th, 2013 at 09:16 PM.

  4. #3
    Ex Member Array Manderinobyebye's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    1,029
    Nice and interesting article Patti.

  5. #4
    VIP Member
    Array Stoveman's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    PRM
    Posts
    2,632
    niks and CIBMike like this.

  6. #5
    Member Array Arejay's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    177
    I wish that there was some kind of nationwide letter circulating thanking them. I'd love to add my signature to a couple of million others thanking them. I hope they know they will never be forgotten.
    blitzburgh likes this.

  7. #6
    Distinguished Member Array Once's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    florida
    Posts
    1,548
    And thats why they are called the Greatest Generation.
    Oldpsufan likes this.

  8. #7
    VIP Member
    Array OldVet's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    S. Florida, north of the Miami mess, south of the Mouse trap
    Posts
    15,885
    A few years ago I had the opportunity to listen to Dick Cole and one other crewman (Can't recall the name) give a talk about the mission. Q&A session didn't go over so well as both men had lost much of their hearing. What impressed me, as does most men of the era, was that they considered the raid as just another mission they had to do--no glory or fame sought.
    msgt/ret, CIBMike and Arejay like this.
    Retired USAF E-8. Remember: You're being watched!
    Paranoia strikes deep, into your heart it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid... "For What It's Worth" Buffalo Springfield

  9. #8
    VIP Member Array paramedic70002's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Franklin, VA
    Posts
    5,122
    Link to the article posted by the OP:

    Opinion: A final toast for the Doolittle Raiders - CNN.com
    "Each worker carried his sword strapped to his side." Nehemiah 4:18

    Guns Save Lives. Paramedics Save Lives. But...
    Paramedics With Guns Scare People!

  10. #9
    VIP Member
    Array Mike1956's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Marion County, Ohio
    Posts
    10,144
    Here is another link:
    Hite
    "When you have to shoot, shoot, don't talk."
    Tuco

  11. #10
    VIP Member Array Patti's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    The Show Me State
    Posts
    2,641
    Their bravery is unsurpassed.
    Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance and the gospel of envy. — Winston Churchill

  12. #11
    Senior Member Array nontechguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    In The Middle
    Posts
    832
    Somewhere out in cyberspace is a set of pictures of the planes and crews, with the names attached, taken aboard the carrier before launch.
    I recall receiving it as an email a while back.
    "The time is now near at hand which must determine whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves."
    ------------------------------------— George Washington 1776
    Gun free zones
    are safe havens-
    FOR CRIMINALS

  13. #12
    Senior Member Array Oldpsufan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    1,079
    Words cannot express my gratitude and feelings for these and other fine service men of this era. Also lets not forget the home front people who made it possible for us as a country to persevere, sacrifice, and win that war. I was only a child entering grade school in 1943, but I remember a good deal of the hardships everyone endured, and the anguish felt when a local died overseas.
    This certainly was the Greatest Generation, and I was born too late.

  14. #13
    VIP Member
    Array msgt/ret's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    7,139
    Quote Originally Posted by nontechguy View Post
    Somewhere out in cyberspace is a set of pictures of the planes and crews, with the names attached, taken aboard the carrier before launch.
    I recall receiving it as an email a while back.
    Here is a link to a whole mess of pictures of the Raiders.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=dool...&bih=519&dpr=1

    I remember passing the Doolittle Raiders Memorial many times while stationed at Eglin AFB and wondering just what it would be like to fly a mission like that.
    When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk.
    "Don't forget, incoming fire has the right of way."

  15. #14
    Distinguished Member Array Jaeger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    St. Louis, MO "The Most Dangerous City in America"
    Posts
    1,969
    We named a town for them outside Rolla.
    Doolittle, Missouri - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive." C.S. Lewis

  16. #15
    VIP Member Array tdave's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    AZ
    Posts
    2,569
    These men have done us honor by dwelling amongst us.

Links

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Search tags for this page

cup of brandy doolittle russia china
,
doolittle raiders fort walton beach fl
,
final toast to wwii doolittle raiders
,

fort walton beach, raiders

,
jimmy doolittle s final toast for the doolittle raiders
Click on a term to search for related topics.