|Born||14 Dec 1896|
|Died||27 Sep 1993|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseJames Harold "Jimmy" Doolittle of Alameda, California, United States, was an enlisted man in the Army Signal Corps in 1917. Perhaps from the time he had spent in frontier Alaska, Doolittle developed to be a daring and innovative individual from a young age. His interest in aviation, a newly developed technology at the time, drove him to receive flight training and became a commissioned officer (lieutenant) at the conclusion of that training on 11 Mar 1918. He served as a Air Corps instructor during WW1 and earned fame as an aviator while studying at MIT during the inter-war years. Between the great wars, he had also worked in the civilian aeronautical science field and piloted experimental aircrafts with pioneering instruments. During the inter-war years he contributed greatly to the development of instrument-assisted flying; he was the first pilot to operate an aircraft based solely on instrument readings without utilitzing human sight.
ww2dbaseWhen WW2 started, as a lieutenant colonel of the Army Reserves, he oversaw the conversion of peace-time automotive manufacturing plants into war production. Perhaps in his most famous role in WW2 history, he planned and personally led a daring bombing run on Tokyo during the early stages of the Pacific War. The B-25 bomber he was in crash-landed in rice paddies in Zhejiang, China, where he was assisted by Chinese Nationalist troops. He was awarded the Medal of Honor and received a promotion to brigadier general for the successful execution of the plan, which aroused American morale. His Medal of Honor citation was as follows:
ww2dbaseLater as a lieutenant general, he commanded air forces in nearly every theater of the war.
ww2dbaseAfter the war, he returned to the civilian aeronautics industry but continued to work closely with the United States military. In March 1951 he was appointed as a special assistant to the Air Force Chief of Staff and served as consultant in US Air Force ballistic missile and space program research projects. He officially retired from the Air Force on 28 Feb 1959. On 4 Apr 1985, he was promoted by the United States Congress to a four-star general on the Air Force retired list; his stars were pinned on his uniform by President Ronald Reagan and Senator Barry Goldwater.
ww2dbaseHe passed away in California in 1993 and now rests in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, United States.
ww2dbaseSources: Naval Historical Center, Wikipedia.
James Doolittle Timeline
|14 Dec 1896||James Doolittle was born.|
|24 Sep 1929||Flying a Consolidated NY-2 Husky biplane, equipped with a Sperry artificial horizon, directional gyro, and a Kollsman altimeter, Lieutenant James H. Doolittle USAAC, completed the first successful blind take-off circuit and landing at Mitchell field, Long Island, New York, United States.|
|11 Mar 1932||James Doolittle set a new world record in air speed.|
|1 Jul 1940||The noted American aviator James H. "Jimmy" Doolittle was recalled to active service as a Major and began assisting US car manufacturers as they switched to aircraft production.|
|6 Jan 1944||James Doolittle, commanding officer of USAAF Eighth Air Force, ordered his fighter chief William Kepner to go on a fighter offensive, rather than focusing on bomber escort as he had instructed under the former commanding officer.|
|13 Mar 1944||US Eighth Air Force commander James Doolittle was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general.|
|27 Sep 1993||James Doolittle passed away.|
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Thomas Dodd, late 1945