Passing of Doolittle Raider Nolan Herndon

12 Oct 2007

Doolittle Raider Nolan Herndon passed away on 8 Oct 2007 in Columbia, South Carolina, United States. The cause was pneumonia.

On 18 Apr 1942, Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle led a daring aerial raid on Japan. Inside bomber number 8, Herndon served as the navigator-bombardier. After bombing Japan, his bomber landed in the Russian port city of Vladivostok after the strike. He, like other members of the crew, expected friendly faces; instead, they were imprisoned. They were first imprisoned right in Vladivostok, where they were given just enough food to survive. They were later transferred to a Russian town 15 miles north of the Iranian border, where they worked as repairmen of trainer aircraft. On 26 May 1943, they made their escape by bribing a truck driver to smuggle them into Iran, where the British helped them return to the United States via India.

"To tell you the truth, I wish all of that would go away," Herndon told author Craig Nelson, unwilling to view himself as a hero. "We were just doing our job", he added.

Herndon is survived by his wife Julia, his son James, and ten grand- and great-grandchildren. He will be buried at Travis Park Cemetery in Saluda, South Carolina.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Anonymous says:
13 Nov 2007 04:43:16 AM

I have read several accounts of the Doodlittle Raid, and about how the other piolets landed in China, and the months they traveled through the Japanese infested towns, woods,swamps,and jungles to reach a place where they could be evacuated by the Allied. These are amazing stories, and even through survivor Navigator Nolan Herndon would have liked the event to go away, it is good that they talk and tell what really happend during the recovery of the piolets after the Doolittle bombing, to be documented in several countries history. May he rest in peace. Signed: Irene J. Dumas, Author of A Salute to Our Veterans Vignettes of Those who Made The Difference, published 2005. ijdumas@aol.com

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