HomeNewsArticle Display

Doolittle Raiders share Congressional Gold Medal with the world

Doolittle Raiders retired Lt. Col. Dick Cole and former Staff Sgt. David Thatcher pose with the Congressional Gold Medal after it arrived at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, following a ceremonial flight on board the B-25 “Panchito” April 18, 2015. The medal is on display in the museum’s World War II Gallery in the Doolittle Raid exhibit. (U.S. Air Force photo/Will Haas)

Doolittle Raiders retired Lt. Col. Dick Cole and former Staff Sgt. David Thatcher pose with the Congressional Gold Medal after it arrived at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, following a ceremonial flight on board the B-25 “Panchito” April 18, 2015. The medal is on display in the museum’s World War II Gallery in the Doolittle Raid exhibit. (U.S. Air Force photo/Will Haas)

Doolittle Raiders retired Lt. Col. Richard Cole, co-pilot of Crew No. 1, and former Staff Sgt. David Thatcher, engineer-gunner of Crew No. 7, sit with the Congressional Gold Medal during a ceremony at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, April 18, 2015. The medal is on display in the museum’s World War II Gallery in the Doolittle Raid exhibit. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)

Doolittle Raiders retired Lt. Col. Richard Cole, co-pilot of Crew No. 1, and former Staff Sgt. David Thatcher, engineer-gunner of Crew No. 7, sit with the Congressional Gold Medal during a ceremony at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, April 18, 2015. The medal is on display in the museum’s World War II Gallery in the Doolittle Raid exhibit. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)

Brian Anderson, Doolittle Tokyo Raiders Association sergeant of arms, hands the Congressional Gold Medal to Doolittle Raiders retired Lt. Col. Dick Cole and former Staff Sgt. David Thatcher after a ceremonial flight on board the B-25 “Panchito” at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, April 18, 2015. The medal is on display in the museum’s World War II Gallery in the Doolittle Raid exhibit.  (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)

Brian Anderson, Doolittle Tokyo Raiders Association sergeant of arms, hands the Congressional Gold Medal to Doolittle Raiders retired Lt. Col. Dick Cole and former Staff Sgt. David Thatcher after a ceremonial flight on board the B-25 “Panchito” at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, April 18, 2015. The medal is on display in the museum’s World War II Gallery in the Doolittle Raid exhibit. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)

Doolittle Raider retired Lt. Col. Richard Cole presents the Raiders’ Congressional Gold Medal to retired Lt. Gen. John Hudson, the director of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, during a ceremony at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, April 18, 2015. The medal is on display in the museum’s World War II Gallery in the Doolittle Raid exhibit. (U.S. Air Force photo/Niki Jahns)

Doolittle Raider retired Lt. Col. Richard Cole presents the Raiders’ Congressional Gold Medal to retired Lt. Gen. John Hudson, the director of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, during a ceremony at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, April 18, 2015. The medal is on display in the museum’s World War II Gallery in the Doolittle Raid exhibit. (U.S. Air Force photo/Niki Jahns)

DAYTON, Ohio (AFNS) -- On April 18, 1942, 80 men inspired a nation by flying 16 B-25 bombers off the deck of the USS Hornet and dropping ordnance on Tokyo. Now, 73 years later, Congress honored these men with the Congressional Gold Medal, presented to the Raiders in Washington D.C., April 15.

The medal, which is the highest civilian honor Congress can give on behalf of Americans, was flown on a ceremonial B-25 flight, in the care of Brian “Bear” Anderson, the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders Association sergeant at arms, and landed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, April 18. The B-25 “Panchito,” owned by Larry Kelley and Lorie Thomsen, was crewed by Larry Kelley, Calvin Peacock, Lorie Thomsen, Don Penny Schneider, Harry Fox and Matt Sager.

Later that night, the two remaining Raiders, retired Lt. Col. Richard “Dick” E. Cole and former Staff Sgt. David J. Thatcher, presented the Congressional Gold Medal to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force to be housed in the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders B-25 exhibit.

“Seventy-three years ago today David Thatcher and I, along with 78 fellow flyers took off on a mission that was based on trust in our leader – James H. Doolittle,” Cole said. “Ten years ago today the surviving Raiders put their trust in the decision of appointing a new guardian for our silver goblets – the National Museum of the United States Air Force. Today, April 18, 2015, Dave Thatcher and I find ourselves putting the Doolittle Raiders’ trust once more in the hands of the director of the National Museum of the United States Air Force. We proudly hand over our Congressional Gold Medal to (retired Lt. Gen.) Jack Hudson, who we trust will respectfully guard it and have it securely displayed in (the) Doolittle Raider exhibit for the world to see and appreciate.”

The Doolittle Raid, which took place before the Air Force became a separate service, not only motivated a nation, but proved strategic airpower is necessary for global reach and the joint fight.

"The actions of these brave Airmen altered the course of World War II, and put our nation on the glide path to where we are today," said Gen. Janet C. Wolfenbarger, the commander of Air Force Materiel Command. "It is absolutely an honor to play a part in this well-deserved tribute for a tremendous group that we proudly claim as predecessors to our Airmen of today."

The Raiders look back on the Raid as just another mission in the war. They said they were just average American volunteers.

“The Doolittle Raiders came from a generation that spoke proudly of service to their country, but rarely drew attention to their own courage,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown. “They sought no recognition, but oh, how they’ve earned it.”

The medal is displayed at the museum, rotating near the Raiders’ 80 silver goblets, only two of which remain upright. The Raiders said they hope the Doolittle Exhibit educates the younger generation, and Thatcher had advice for current and future Airmen.

“Be prepared for anything you run into – we weren’t,” he said. “Learn everything you possibly can, and be good at it.”

Both Cole and Thatcher spoke of the raid and their fellow crew members with fondness and twinkling eyes, all with an undercurrent of humor and humility.

“Tonight’s affair couldn’t have been planned more accurately,” Cole said. “As I remember, the mission was over, it was Saturday night, on the 18th of April and about this time, David Thatcher was on the beach in China saving the rest of his crew, and I was hanging in my parachute in a tree.”

With only 158 Congressional Gold Medals ever awarded, the Raiders are in the company of men like former President (Gen.) George Washington.

“The Congressional Gold Medal is a testament to the heroic achievements and lasting impact of the Doolittle Raiders,” said Rep. Mike Turner. “We want you to know that the United States of America is forever indebted to you, for not only the sacrifices and valor you displayed that day, but also for how you have shared and honored the legacy of our veterans…it is an example of unwavering commitment to service by the men and women in uniform to our nation and to each other.”

Engage

Twitter
Supporting the Department of the Air Force Arctic Strategy. From development to ops in less than a year! These inn… https://t.co/kDXsw1hJ8P
Twitter
Taking care of people The Women’s Health Transition Training, which is offered virtually, provides information on… https://t.co/yL9UQ0V9rf
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: I believe that success takes a team, but failure you can do alone. Grateful for the chance to sit down and connect with a…
Twitter
RT @HQ_AFMC: A new $33 million contract is increasing #COVID19 testing capabilities at 42 #military treatment facilities across the @usairf
Twitter
Accelerate change or lose. @GenCQBrownJr expressed his vision for fulfilling the Air Force's mission and protectin… https://t.co/t2iHEW5yAM
Twitter
RT @airforcerso: Every operation and campaign is only as strong as its supply chain. Tune into #AMO2020 today to watch teams compete in a w…
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: Thank you to @MilFamiliesMag for talking with Sharene and me today. The wellbeing of our families is essential to the suc…
Twitter
RT @cmsaf_official: While many people are sleeping, Maintainers are still hard at work... Our teammates Ellsworth AFB, shared a picture of…
Twitter
RT @cmsaf_official: It’s the Airmen who aren’t in this photo that I want to talk about. They are out there right now turning wrenches, gene…
Twitter
RT @airforcerso: 13 teams are competing to help the @USAirForce with better performing, more cost-effective & reliable technology that prod…
Twitter
Keeping combat agile 💪 @USAF_ACC is testing agile combat employment & a new lead wing deployment concept intended… https://t.co/0F3nAwIZnx
Twitter
Strengthening international partnerships. #ReadyAF #AimHigh https://t.co/m5YeqA8i5G
Twitter
Modernizing our fighting force! #AimHigh #InnovativeAF https://t.co/pEQUJdqYFE
Twitter
#DYK The 563rd Rescue Group directs flying operations for the #USAF's only active duty rescue wing dedicated to Com… https://t.co/QYDiSZ50qe
Twitter
Another day at the office. Can't comPLANE. 😉 ⚡ #LoveThisJob #ReadyAF #AimHigh https://t.co/7Vjemy7gP7
Twitter
RT @AirMobilityCmd: Blinded by the light 😎🔆 @TeamFairchild is taking #innovation to another level by setting the standard for Project Tesse…
Twitter
Defense data for academia! 🎓 “Digital engineering isn't a fluke … It is our future.” - Dr. Will Roper, assistant… https://t.co/NQsFQpmu2N
Twitter
RT @DeptofDefense: Dr. Anderson participated in Global Thunder, US-Stratcom’s annual NC2 exercise while traveling to Minot. This exercise i…
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: Laid a wreath at the American Cemetery in Münsingen, Switzerland, which hosts the gravesites of 61 U.S. Army Air Forces…
Twitter
RT @WILLROP3R: ASKED/ANSWERED. Friday, a @usairforce U-2 spy plane updated code during flight--a military first! Update #2 improved automat…
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,296,119
Follow Us