Doolittle’s Pilot Lt Col Richard “Dick” Cole with the original April 1942 B-25J Panchito (Plane #01 S/N #402244, 34th Bomber Sq), at Charlotte County Airport in Punta Gorda, Florida on Friday, March 25, 2011. © 2011 Robert Seale (Source : www.www.robertsealeblog.com)
The Doolittle Raid of April 18, 1942, was the first air raid by the United States to strike the Japanese home islands during World War II. The mission was notable in that it was the only operation in which United States Army Air Forces bombers were launched from a US Navy aircraft carrier. It was the longest combat mission ever flown by the B-25 Mitchell medium bomber.
This raid had its start in a desire by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, expressed to the Joint Chiefs of Staff in a meeting at the White House on Dec 21 1941, that Japan be bombed as soon as possible to boost public morale after the disaster at Pearl Harbor. The Japanese people had been told they were invulnerable … An attack on the Japanese homeland would cause confusion in the minds of the Japanese people and sow doubt about the reliability of their leaders. There was a second, and equally important, psychological reason for this attack … Americans badly needed a morale boost. Doolittle, later in his autobiography, recounted that the raid was intended to bolster American morale and to cause the Japanese to begin doubting their leadership, in which it succeeded.