AirVenture 2017 to Commemorate Doolittle Raid Participants

Event begins with the arrival of 16 B-25s in Oshkosh on July 25.

This summer’s AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, will include a special July 26 evening ceremony commemorating the 75th anniversary of the first U.S. raid on the Japanese mainland following the attack on Pearl Harbor.

On April 18, 1942, 16 North American B-25 Mitchell bombers lifted off from the carrier USS Hornet and headed west toward Japan. The “Doolittle Raiders,” led by legendary pilot Jimmy Doolittle (pictured), then faced hardships after their airplanes made forced landings in China and other areas.

The 75th anniversary activities in Oshkosh will honor those involved in the daring mission that bombed military sites in Japan just five months after Pearl Harbor, including 101-year-old Dick Cole, the only remaining member of the 80 original Doolittle Raiders. Cole was Doolittle’s copilot in the lead B-25 on the raid launched from the Hornet. The commemoration will also include Doolittle’s grandchildren, Jimmy Doolittle III and Jonna Doolittle Hoppes.

The event will be preceded on July 25 by the arrival of 16 B-25 aircraft that will take part in the airshow that same day. The aircraft will later park in the warbird area just east of the Wittman Field tower.

“The Doolittle raid 75 years ago was important, not as much for its military gains as it was a morale lift to an American military and public that had been buffeted by bad news in the months immediately following the attack on Pearl Harbor,” said Rick Larsen, EAA’s vice president of communities and member benefits.