B-25 bombers rumble to AF museum to honor Doolittle Raiders

Thousands of people swarmed onto the airstrip at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Monday as 11 World War II era B-25s landed to mark the 75th anniversary of the historic Doolittle Raiders attack against Japan.

Eighty U.S. Army Air Corps airmen known as the Doolittle Raiders flew in 16 B-25 bombers off the deck of the USS Hornet to bomb Japan on April 18, 1942, after the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, brought the United States into World War II.

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“You will never see this many B-25s again,” said Mick Vision, 78, of Centerville, and a retired Navy commander as the array of B-25s lined the runway next to the Air Force museum.

David Cottrill, 75, a retired Air Force chaplain from Centerville, came out with Vision to remember the impact the Raiders had on changing the course of World War II in the Pacific. “It told the Japanese people they were not invincible, impregnable …. that they made a mistake” in attacking Pearl Harbor, he said.

The public will be allowed to see the aircraft at the museum today from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. today and from 9 a.m. to noon Tuesday. A long line of cars, truck and motorcyles poured onto the grounds Monday morning to see the seven-decade old bombers.

Weather permitting, the rumbling planes were set to fly over the museum’s Memorial Park at 2:15 p.m. Tuesday followed about an hour later at the conclusion of a memorial service of two B-1B Lancer bombers flying out of Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D.

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The sole remaining Raider, 101-year-old retired Lt. Col. Richard E. Cole, plans to mark the anniversary Tuesday at the museum.

Cole, a Dayton native who lives in Texas, was co-pilot to bombing raid leader Jimmy Doolittle on the historic mission.

For more information, log onto the museum's website at www.nationalmuseum.af.mil .

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