Ellsworth AFB celebrates 80th anniversary of Doolittle Raid

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Hannah Malone
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

Ellsworth Air Force Base recognized the 80th Anniversary of the Doolittle Raid through several events including a heritage flight, the dedication of a Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile to a local museum, as well as a toast and tail flash unveiling. 

On April 18, 1942, 200 volunteers delivered the first long-range strike of World War II. Led by Lt. Col. James Doolittle, 80 Raiders in 16 B-25 Bombers took off from the deck of the USS Hornet. 

“Today is a historic day,” said Col. Joseph Sheffield, 28th Bomb Wing commander. “Today we commemorate the brave and bold Raiders of the past, the dedication and sacrifice of the original Doolittle Raiders.”  

The day’s events began with the unveiling of a JASSM dedication at the South Dakota Air and Space Museum. The missile was dedicated on the 80th anniversary of the Doolittle Raid in honor of the April 14, 2018, mission to Barzah, Syria. During this mission, 19 JASSM were used in the first combat employment of the weapon. 

“As threats have evolved, so too has the B-1 mission,” Sheffield said. “However, there are some things that have remained the same for a long time now. For Ellsworth Air Force Base, the Raider heritage courses through the very construct of our mission. Over the past 80 years, we have continued to build and expand upon the same qualities that made them so successful during World War II.” 

The event included a speech from Becky Thatcher-Keller, daughter of David J. Thatcher, an original member of Crew 7 during the Doolittle Raid. After her speech, she gave the final toast to a room filled with members of the 34th and 37th Bomb Squadrons. 

Finally, new B-1 tail art dedicated to the 80th anniversary of the Doolittle Raid was revealed on aircraft 85-0060. The tail art consists of a B-25, a Doolittle Raiders patch, and patches from the five participating Doolittle Raid Squadrons. 

“We are proud to be called Raiders, not because of one event, but more for what it means to be a Raider,” said Master Sergeant Michael Bowser, the 28th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron lead production superintendent. “A heritage aircraft paint scheme is an excellent example of our professionalism, lineage, and at the same time, shows our local community our Air Force branding as Raiders.” 

A quote added on the nose of the B-1 read, “In remembrance of the Doolittle Raiders.”