|Born||December 14, 1896|
Alameda, California, U.S.
|Died||September 27, 1993 (aged 96)|
Pebble Beach, California, U.S.
|Service/||United States Army (1917–1918)|
United States Army Air Corps (1918–1941)
United States Army Air Force (1941–1947)
United States Air Force (1947–1959)
|Years of service||1917–1959|
|Commands held||Eighth Air Force|
Fifteenth Air Force
Twelfth Air Force
|Battles/wars||World War I|
Mexican Border Service
World War II
|Awards||Medal of Honor|
Army Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Distinguished Flying Cross (3)
Bronze Star Medal
Air Medal (4)
Presidential Medal of Freedom
(m. 1917; died 1988)
|Other work||Test pilot, Shell Oil Company VP and director, chairman of Space Technology Laboratories and NACA|
James Harold Doolittle (December 14, 1896 – September 27, 1993) was an American military general and aviation pioneer who received the Medal of Honor for his daring raids on Japan during World War II. He also made early coast-to-coast flights, record-breaking speed flights, won many flying races, and helped develop and flight-test instrument flying.
Raised in Nome, Alaska, Doolittle studied as an undergraduate at University of California, Berkeley, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in 1922. He also earned a doctorate in aeronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1925, the first issued in the United States. In 1929, he pioneered the use of "blind flying", where a pilot relies on flight instruments alone, which later won him the Harmon Trophy and made all-weather airline operations practical. He was a flying instructor during World War I and a reserve officer in the United States Army Air Corps, but he was recalled to active duty during World War II. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for personal valor and leadership as commander of the Doolittle Raid, a bold long-range retaliatory air raid on some of the Japanese main islands on April 18, 1942, four months after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The raid used 16 B-25B Mitchell medium bombers with reduced armament to decrease weight and increase range, each with a crew of five and no escort fighter aircraft. It was a major morale booster for the United States and Doolittle was celebrated as a hero, making him one of the most important national figures of the war.
Doolittle was promoted to lieutenant general and commanded the Twelfth Air Force over North Africa, the Fifteenth Air Force over the Mediterranean, and the Eighth Air Force over Europe. Nearly a decade and a half after World War II, he retired and left the Air Force but remained active in many technical fields, becoming inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 1967, eight years after retirement and only five years after the Hall was founded. He was eventually promoted to general in 1985, presented to him by President Ronald Reagan 43 years after the Doolittle Raid. In 2003, he topped Air & Space/Smithsonian magazine's list of the greatest pilots of all time, and ten years later, Flying magazine ranked Doolittle sixth on its list of the 51 Heroes of Aviation. He died shortly after a stroke in 1993, at the age of 96.
Early life and education
Doolittle was born in Alameda, California, and spent his youth in Nome, Alaska, where he earned a reputation as a boxer. His parents were Frank Henry Doolittle and Rosa (Rose) Cerenah Shephard. By 1910, Jimmy Doolittle was attending school in Los Angeles. When his school attended the 1910 Los Angeles International Air Meet at Dominguez Field, Doolittle saw his first airplane. He attended Los Angeles City College after graduating from Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles, and later won admission to the University of California, Berkeley where he studied at the College of Mines. He was a member of Theta Kappa Nu fraternity, which would merge into Lambda Chi Alpha during the later stages of the Great Depression.
Doolittle took a leave of absence in October 1917 to enlist in the Signal Corps Reserve as a flying cadet; he received ground training at the School of Military Aeronautics (an Army school) on the campus of the University of California, and flight-trained at Rockwell Field, California. Doolittle received his Reserve Military Aviator rating and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Signal Officers Reserve Corps of the U.S. Army on March 11, 1918.
During World War I, Doolittle stayed in the United States as a flight instructor and performed his war service at Camp John Dick Aviation Concentration Center ("Camp Dick"), Texas; Wright Field, Ohio; Gerstner Field, Louisiana; Rockwell Field, California; Kelly Field, Texas and Eagle Pass, Texas.
Doolittle served at Rockwell as a flight leader and gunnery instructor. At Kelly Field, he served with the 104th Aero Squadron and with the 90th Aero Squadron of the 1st Surveillance Group. His detachment of the 90th Aero Squadron was based at Eagle Pass, patrolling the Mexican border. Recommended by three officers for retention in the Air Service during demobilization at the end of the war, Doolittle qualified by examination and received a Regular Army commission as a 1st Lieutenant, Air Service, on July 1, 1920.
On May 10, 1921, he was engineering officer and pilot for an expedition recovering a plane that had force-landed in a Mexican canyon on February 10 during a transcontinental flight attempt by Alexander Pearson Jr. Doolittle reached the plane on May 3 and found it serviceable, then returned May 8 with a replacement motor and four mechanics. The oil pressure of the new motor was inadequate and Doolittle requested two pressure gauges, using carrier pigeons to communicate. The additional parts were dropped by air and installed, and Doolittle flew the plane to Del Rio, Texas himself, taking off from a 400-yard airstrip hacked out of the canyon floor.
Subsequently, he attended the Air Service Mechanical School at Kelly Field and the Aeronautical Engineering Course at McCook Field, Ohio. Having at last returned to complete his college degree, he earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Berkeley in 1922, and joined the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity.
Doolittle was one of the most famous pilots during the inter-war period. In September 1922, he made the first of many pioneering flights, flying a de Havilland DH-4 – which was equipped with early navigational instruments – in the first cross-country flight, from Pablo Beach (now Jacksonville Beach), Florida, to Rockwell Field, San Diego, California, in 21 hours and 19 minutes, making only one refueling stop at Kelly Field. The U.S. Army awarded him the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Within days after the transcontinental flight, he was at the Air Service Engineering School (a precursor to the Air Force Institute of Technology) at McCook Field, Dayton, Ohio. For Doolittle, the school assignment had special significance: "In the early '20s, there was not complete support between the flyers and the engineers. The pilots thought the engineers were a group of people who zipped slide rules back and forth, came out with erroneous results and bad aircraft; and the engineers thought the pilots were crazy – otherwise they wouldn't be pilots. So some of us who had previous engineering training were sent to the engineering school at old McCook Field. After a year's training there in practical aeronautical engineering, some of us were sent on to MIT where we took advanced degrees in aeronautical engineering. I believe that the purpose was served, that there was thereafter a better understanding between pilots and engineers."
In July 1923, after serving as a test pilot and aeronautical engineer at McCook Field, Doolittle entered MIT. In March 1924, he conducted aircraft acceleration tests at McCook Field, which became the basis of his master's thesis and led to his second Distinguished Flying Cross. He received his MS degree in Aeronautics from MIT in June 1924. Because the Army had given him two years to get his degree and he had done it in just one, he immediately started working on his Sc.D. in Aeronautics, which he received in June 1925. His doctorate in aeronautical engineering was the first issued in the United States. He said that he considered his master's work more significant than his doctorate.
Following graduation, Doolittle attended special training in high-speed seaplanes at Naval Air Station Anacostia in Washington, D.C. He also served with the Naval Test Board at Mitchel Field, Long Island, New York, and was a familiar figure in air speed record attempts in the New York area. He won the Schneider Cup race in a Curtiss R3C in 1925 with an average speed of 232 MPH. For that feat, Doolittle was awarded the Mackay Trophy in 1926.
In April 1926, Doolittle was given a leave of absence to go to South America to perform demonstration flights for Curtiss Aircraft. In Chile, he broke both ankles while demonstrating his acrobatic abilities in an incident that was known as Night of the Pisco Sours. Despite having both ankles in casts, Doolittle put his Curtiss P-1 Hawk through aerial maneuvers that outdid the competition. He returned to the United States, and was confined to Walter Reed Army Hospital for his injuries until April 1927. He was then assigned to McCook Field for experimental work, with additional duty as an instructor pilot to the 385th Bomb Squadron of the Air Corps Reserve. During this time, in 1927 he was the first to perform an outside loop, previously thought to be a fatal maneuver. Carried out in a Curtiss fighter at Wright Field in Ohio, Doolittle executed the dive from 10,000 feet, reached 280 mph, bottomed out upside down, then climbed and completed the loop.
Doolittle's most important addition to aeronautical technology was his early advancement of instrument flying. He was the first to recognize that true operational freedom in the air could not be achieved until pilots developed the ability to control and navigate aircraft in flight from takeoff run to landing rollout, regardless of the range of vision from the cockpit. Doolittle was the first to envision that a pilot could be trained to use instruments to fly through fog, clouds, precipitation of all forms, darkness, or any other impediment to visibility; and in spite of the pilot's own possibly convoluted motion sense inputs. Even at this early stage, the ability to control aircraft was getting beyond the motion sense capability of the pilot. That is, as aircraft became faster and more maneuverable, pilots could become seriously disoriented without visual cues from outside the cockpit, because aircraft could move in ways that pilots' senses could not accurately decipher.
Doolittle was also the first to recognize these psycho-physiological limitations of the human senses (particularly the motion sense inputs, i.e., up, down, left, right). He initiated the study of the relationships between the psychological effects of visual cues and motion senses. His research resulted in programs that trained pilots to read and understand navigational instruments. A pilot learned to "trust his instruments," not his senses, as visual cues and his motion sense inputs (what he sensed and "felt") could be incorrect or unreliable.
In 1929, he became the first pilot to take off, fly and land an airplane using instruments alone, without a view outside the cockpit. Having returned to Mitchell Field that September, he helped develop blind-flying equipment. He helped develop, and was then the first to test, the now universally used artificial horizon and directional gyroscope. He attracted wide newspaper attention with this feat of "blind" flying and later received the Harmon Trophy for conducting the experiments. These accomplishments made all-weather airline operations practical.
In January 1930, he advised the Army on the construction of Floyd Bennett Field in New York City. Doolittle resigned his regular commission on February 15, 1930, and was commissioned a Major in the Air Reserve Corps a month later, being named manager of the Aviation Department of Shell Oil Company, in which capacity he conducted numerous aviation tests. While in the Reserve, he also returned to temporary active duty with the Army frequently to conduct tests.
Doolittle helped influence Shell Oil Company to produce the first quantities of 100 octane aviation gasoline. High octane fuel was crucial to the high-performance planes that were developed in the late 1930s.
In 1932, Doolittle set the world's high-speed record for land planes at 296 miles per hour in the Shell Speed Dash. Later, he took the Thompson Trophy race at Cleveland in the notorious Gee Bee R-1 racer with a speed averaging 252 miles per hour. After having won the three big air racing trophies of the time, the Schneider, Bendix, and Thompson, he officially retired from air racing stating, "I have yet to hear anyone engaged in this work dying of old age."
In April 1934, Doolittle was selected to be a member of the Baker Board. Chaired by former Secretary of War Newton D. Baker, the board was convened during the Air Mail scandal to study Air Corps organization. In 1940, he became president of the Institute of Aeronautical Science.
The development of 100-octane aviation gasoline on an economic scale was due in part to Doolittle, who had become aviation manager of Shell Oil Company. Around 1935 he convinced Shell to invest in refining capacity to produce 100-octane fuel on a scale that nobody needed since no aircraft existed that required a fuel that nobody made. Some fellow employees would call his effort "Doolittle's million-dollar blunder" but time would prove him correct. Before this the Army had considered 100-octane tests using pure octane but at $25 a gallon it did not happen. By 1936 tests at Wright Field using a cheaper alternative to pure octane proved the value of the fuel and both Shell and Standard Oil of New Jersey would win the contract to supply test quantities for the Army. By 1938 the price was down to 17.5 cents a gallon, only 2.5 cents more than 87 octane fuel. By the end of WW II the price would be down to 16 cents a gallon and the U.S. armed forces would be consuming 20 million gallons a day.
Doolittle returned to active duty in the U.S. Army Air Corps on July 1, 1940 with the rank of Major. He was assigned as the assistant district supervisor of the Central Air Corps Procurement District at Indianapolis and Detroit, where he worked with large auto manufacturers on the conversion of their plants to aircraft production. The following August, he went to England as a member of a special mission and brought back information about other countries' air forces and military build-ups.
Following the reorganization of the Army Air Corps into the USAAF in June 1941, Doolittle was promoted to lieutenant colonel on January 2, 1942, and assigned to Army Air Forces Headquarters to plan the first retaliatory air raid on the Japanese homeland following the attack on Pearl Harbor. He volunteered for and received General H.H. Arnold's approval to lead the top secret attack of 16 B-25 medium bombers from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet, with targets in Tokyo, Kobe, Yokohama, Osaka and Nagoya.
After training at Eglin Field and Wagner Field in northwest Florida, Doolittle, his aircraft, and volunteer flight crews proceeded to McClellan Field, California for aircraft modifications at the Sacramento Air Depot, followed by a short final flight to Naval Air Station Alameda, California for embarkation aboard the aircraft carrier USS Hornet. On April 18, Doolittle and his 16 B-25 crews took off from the Hornet, reached Japan, and bombed their targets. Fifteen of the planes then headed for their recovery airfield in China, while one crew chose to land in Russia due to their bomber's unusually high fuel consumption. As did most of the other crewmen who participated in the one-way mission, Doolittle and his crew bailed out safely over China when their B-25 ran out of fuel. By then, they had been flying for about 12 hours, it was nighttime, the weather was stormy, and Doolittle was unable to locate their landing field. Doolittle came down in a rice paddy (saving a previously injured ankle from breaking) near Chuchow (Quzhou). He and his crew linked up after the bailout and were helped through Japanese lines by Chinese guerrillas and American missionary John Birch. Other aircrews were not so fortunate, although most eventually reached safety with the help of friendly Chinese. Seven crew members lost their lives, four as a result of being captured and murdered by the Japanese and three due to an aircraft crash or while parachuting. Doolittle thought he would be court martialed due to having to launch the raid ahead of schedule after being spotted by Japanese patrol boats and the loss of all the aircraft.
Doolittle went on to fly more combat missions as commander of the 12th Air Force in North Africa, for which he was awarded four Air Medals. He later commanded the 12th, 15th and 8th Air Forces in Europe. The other surviving members of the Doolittle raid also went on to new assignments.
Doolittle received the Medal of Honor from President Franklin D. Roosevelt at the White House for planning and leading his raid on Japan. His citation reads: "For conspicuous leadership above and beyond the call of duty, involving personal valor and intrepidity at an extreme hazard to life. With the apparent certainty of being forced to land in enemy territory or to perish at sea, Lt. Col. Doolittle personally led a squadron of Army bombers, manned by volunteer crews, in a highly destructive raid on the Japanese mainland." He was also promoted to brigadier general.
The Doolittle Raid is viewed by historians as a major morale-building victory for the United States. Although the damage done to Japanese war industry was minor, the raid showed the Japanese that their homeland was vulnerable to air attack, and forced them to withdraw several front-line fighter units from Pacific war zones for homeland defense. More significantly, Japanese commanders considered the raid deeply embarrassing, and their attempt to close the perceived gap in their Pacific defense perimeter led directly to the decisive American victory at the Battle of Midway in June 1942.
When asked from where the Tokyo raid was launched, President Roosevelt coyly said its base was Shangri-La, a fictional paradise from the popular novel Lost Horizon. In the same vein, the U.S. Navy named one of its Essex-class fleet carriers the USS Shangri-La.
World War II, post-raid
In July 1942, as a brigadier general—he had been promoted by two grades on the day after the Tokyo attack, bypassing the rank of full colonel—Doolittle was assigned to the nascent Eighth Air Force. This followed his rejection by General Douglas MacArthur as commander of the South West Pacific Area to replace Major General George Brett. Major General Frank Andrews first turned down the position, and, offered a choice between George Kenney and Doolittle, MacArthur chose Kenney. In September, Doolittle became commanding general of the Twelfth Air Force, soon to be operating in North Africa. He was promoted to major general in November 1942, and in March 1943 became commanding general of the Northwest African Strategic Air Force, a unified command of U.S. Army Air Force and Royal Air Force units. In September, he commanded a raid against the Italian town of Battipaglia that was so thorough in its destruction that General Carl Andrew Spaatz sent him a joking message: "You're slipping Jimmy. There's one crabapple tree and one stable still standing."
Maj. Gen. Doolittle took command of the Fifteenth Air Force in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations in November 1943. On June 10, he flew as co-pilot with Jack Sims, fellow Tokyo Raider, in a B-26 Marauder of the 320th Bombardment Group, 442nd Bombardment Squadron on a mission to attack gun emplacements at Pantelleria. Doolittle continued to fly, despite the risk of capture, while being privy to the Ultra secret, which was that the German encryption systems had been broken by the British. From January 1944 to September 1945, he held his largest command, the Eighth Air Force (8 AF) in England as a lieutenant general, his promotion date being March 13, 1944 and the highest rank ever held by an active reserve officer in modern times.
Escort fighter tactics
Doolittle's major influence on the European air war occurred late in 1943 - and primarily after he took command of the 8th Air Force on January 6, 1944 - when he changed the policy of requiring escorting fighters to remain with their bombers at all times. Instead, he permitted escort fighters to fly far ahead of the bombers' combat box formations, allowing them to freely engage the German fighters laying in wait for the bombers. Throughout most of 1944, this tactic negated the effectiveness of the twin-engined Zerstörergeschwader heavy fighter wings and single-engined Sturmgruppen of heavily armed Fw 190As by clearing the Luftwaffe's bomber destroyers from ahead of the bomber formations. After the bombers had hit their targets, the American fighters were free to strafe German airfields, transportation, and other “targets of opportunity” on their return flight to base. These tasks were initially performed with Lockheed P-38 Lightnings and Republic P-47 Thunderbolts through the end of 1943. They were progressively replaced with the long-ranged North American P-51 Mustangs as the spring of 1944 wore on.
After Germany surrendered, the Eighth Air Force was re-equipped with B-29 Superfortress bombers and started to relocate to Okinawa in southern Japan. Two bomb groups had begun to arrive on August 7. However, the 8th was not scheduled to be at full strength until February 1946 and Doolittle declined to rush 8th Air Force units into combat saying that "If the war is over, I will not risk one airplane nor a single bomber crew member just to be able to say the 8th Air Force had operated against the Japanese in Asia."
Secretary of War Robert P. Patterson asked Doolittle on March 27, 1946 to head a commission on the relationships between officers and enlisted men in the Army called the "Doolittle Board" or the "GI Gripes Board". The Army implemented many of the board's recommendations in the postwar volunteer Army, though many professional officers and noncommissioned officers thought that the Board "destroyed the discipline of the Army". Columnist Hanson Baldwin said that the Doolittle Board "caused severe damage to service effectiveness by recommendations intended to 'democratize' the Army—a concept that is self-contradictory".
U.S. space program
Doolittle became acquainted with the field of space science in its infancy. He wrote in his autobiography, "I became interested in rocket development in the 1930s when I met Robert H. Goddard, who laid the foundation [in the US]. ... While with Shell [Oil] I worked with him on the development of a type of [rocket] fuel. ... " Harry Guggenheim, whose foundation sponsored Goddard's work, and Charles Lindbergh, who encouraged Goddard's efforts, arranged for (then Major) Doolittle to discuss with Goddard a special blend of gasoline. Doolittle piloted himself to Roswell, New Mexico in October 1938 and was given a tour of Goddard's workshop and a "short course" in rocketry and space travel. He then wrote a memo, including a rather detailed description of Goddard's rocket. In closing he said, "interplanetary transportation is probably a dream of the very distant future, but with the moon only a quarter of a million miles away—who knows!" In July 1941 he wrote Goddard that he was still interested in rocket propulsion research. The Army, however, was interested only in JATO at this point. Doolittle was concerned about the state of rocketry in the US and remained in touch with Goddard.: 1443
Shortly after World War II, Doolittle spoke to an American Rocket Society conference at which a large number interested in rocketry attended. The topic was Robert Goddard's work. He later stated that at that time "... we [the aeronautics field in the US] had not given much credence to the tremendous potential of rocketry.
In 1956, Doolittle was appointed chairman of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) because the previous chairman, Jerome C. Hunsaker, thought Doolittle to be more sympathetic to the rocket, which was increasing in importance as a scientific tool as well as a weapon.: 516 The NACA Special Committee on Space Technology was organized in January 1958 and chaired by Guy Stever to determine the requirements of a national space program and what additions were needed to NACA technology. Doolittle, Dr. Hugh Dryden and Stever selected committee members including Dr. Wernher von Braun from the Army Ballistic Missile Agency, Sam Hoffman of Rocketdyne, Abe Hyatt of the Office of Naval Research and Colonel Norman Appold from the USAF missile program, considering their potential contributions to US space programs and ability to educate NACA people in space science.
On 5 January 1946, Doolittle reverted to inactive reserve status in the Army Air Forces in the grade of lieutenant general, a rarity in those days when reserve officers were usually limited to the rank of major general or rear admiral, a restriction that would not end in the US armed forces until the 21st century. He retired from the United States Army on 10 May 1946. On 18 September 1947, his reserve commission as a general officer was transferred to the newly established United States Air Force. Doolittle returned to Shell Oil as a vice president, and later as a director.
In 1947, Doolittle became the first president of the Air Force Association, an organization which he helped create.
In 1948, Doolittle advocated the desegregation of the US military. He wrote "I am convinced that the solution to the situation is to forget that they are colored." Industry was in the process of integrating, Doolittle said, "and it is going to be forced on the military. You are merely postponing the inevitable and you might as well take it gracefully."
In March 1951, Doolittle was appointed a special assistant to the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, serving as a civilian in scientific matters which led to Air Force ballistic missile and space programs. In 1952, following a string of three air crashes in two months at Elizabeth, New Jersey, the President of the United States, Harry S. Truman, appointed him to lead a presidential commission examining the safety of urban airports. The report "Airports and Their Neighbors" led to zoning requirements for buildings near approaches, early noise control requirements, and initial work on "super airports" with 10,000 ft runways, suited to 150 ton aircraft.
In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower asked Doolittle to perform a study of the Central Intelligence Agency; the resulting work was known as the Doolittle Report, 1954, and was classified for a number of years.
In January 1956, Eisenhower asked Doolittle to serve as a member on the first edition of the President's Board of Consultants on Foreign Intelligence Activities which, years later, would become known as the President's Intelligence Advisory Board.
From 1957 to 1958, he was chairman of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). This period was during the events of Sputnik, Vanguard and Explorer. He was the last person to hold this position, as the NACA was superseded by NASA. Doolittle was asked to serve as the first NASA administrator, but he turned it down.
Honors and awards
On April 4, 1985, the U.S. Congress promoted Doolittle to the rank of full four-star general (O-10) on the U.S. Air Force retired list. In a later ceremony, President Ronald Reagan and U.S. Senator and retired Air Force Reserve Major General Barry Goldwater pinned on Doolittle's four-star insignia.
In addition to his Medal of Honor for the Tokyo raid, Doolittle received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, two Distinguished Service Medals, the Silver Star, three Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Bronze Star Medal, four Air Medals, and decorations from Belgium, China, Ecuador, France, Great Britain, and Poland. He was the first American to be awarded both the Medal of Honor and the Medal of Freedom. He is also one of only two persons (the other being Douglas MacArthur) to receive both the Medal of Honor and a British knighthood, when he was appointed an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath.
In 1972, Doolittle received the Tony Jannus Award for his distinguished contributions to commercial aviation, in recognition of the development of instrument flight.
Doolittle was awarded the Public Welfare Medal from the National Academy of Sciences in 1959. In 1983, he was awarded the United States Military Academy's Sylvanus Thayer Award. He was inducted in the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America as the only member of the air racing category in the inaugural class of 1989, and into the Aerospace Walk of Honor in the inaugural class of 1990.
On May 9, 2007, the new 12th Air Force Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC), Building 74, at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona, was named the "General James H. Doolittle Center". Several surviving members of the Doolittle Raid were in attendance during the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Doolittle married Josephine "Joe" E. Daniels on December 24, 1917. At a dinner celebration after Jimmy Doolittle's first all-instrument flight in 1929, Josephine Doolittle asked her guests to sign her white damask tablecloth. Later, she embroidered the names in black. She continued this tradition, collecting hundreds of signatures from the aviation world. The tablecloth was donated to the Smithsonian Institution. Married for exactly 71 years, Josephine Doolittle died on December 24, 1988, five years before her husband.
The Doolittles had two sons, James Jr., and John. Both became military officers and pilots. James Jr. was an A-26 Invader pilot in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II and later a fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force in the late 1940s through the late 1950s. He died by suicide in 1958, aged 38. At the time of his death, James Jr. was a Major and commander of the 524th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, piloting the F-101 Voodoo.
The other son, John P. Doolittle, retired from the Air Force as a colonel, and his grandson, Colonel James H. Doolittle III, was the vice commander of the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base, California.
James H. "Jimmy" Doolittle died at the age of 96 in Pebble Beach, California, on September 27, 1993, and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, near Washington, D.C., next to his wife. In his honor at the funeral, there was also a flyover of Miss Mitchell, a lone B-25 Mitchell, and USAF Eighth Air Force bombers from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. After a brief graveside service, fellow Doolittle Raider Bill Bower began the final tribute on the bugle. When emotion took over, Doolittle's great-grandson, Paul Dean Crane, Jr., played Taps.
Dates of military rank
|Insignia||Rank||Service and components||Date|
|No insignia||Private First Class||United States Army||November 10, 1917|
|No insignia||Aviation Cadet||United States Army||October 6, 1917|
|Second Lieutenant||United States Army||March 11, 1918|
|Second Lieutenant||United States Army||September 19, 1920|
|First Lieutenant||United States Army
Army Air Service
|March 17, 1921|
Resigned February 15, 1930
|Major||United States Army
|March 5, 1930|
|Major||United States Army||July 1, 1940|
|Lieutenant Colonel||United States Army
Army of the United States
|January 2, 1942|
|Brigadier General||United States Army
Army of the United States
|April 19, 1942|
|Major General||United States Army
Army of the United States
|November 20, 1942|
|Lieutenant General||United States Army
Army of the United States
|March 13, 1944|
|Lieutenant General||United States Army
|January 5, 1946|
|Lieutenant General||United States Army||May 10, 1946|
|Lieutenant General||United States Air Force||September 18, 1947|
|Lieutenant General||United States Air Force
Air Force Reserve
|February 28, 1959|
|General||United States Air Force
Air Force Reserve
|April 4, 1985|
Military and civilian awards
Doolittle's military and civilian decorations include the following:
Medal of Honor citation
Rank and organization: Brigadier General, U.S. Army Air Corps
Place and date: Over Japan
Entered service at: Berkeley, Calif.
Birth: Alameda, Calif.
G.O. No.: 29, 9 June 1942
For conspicuous leadership above the call of duty, involving personal valor and intrepidity at an extreme hazard to life. With the apparent certainty of being forced to land in enemy territory or to perish at sea, Gen. Doolittle personally led a squadron of Army bombers, manned by volunteer crews, in a highly destructive raid on the Japanese mainland.
Other awards and honors
Doolittle also received the following awards and honors:
- In 1972, he was awarded the Horatio Alger Award, given to dedicated community leaders who demonstrate individual initiative and a commitment to excellence; as exemplified by remarkable achievements accomplished through honesty, hard work, self-reliance and perseverance over adversity. The Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc. bears the name of the renowned author Horatio Alger, Jr., whose tales of overcoming adversity through unyielding perseverance and basic moral principles captivated the public in the late 19th century.
- In 1977, Doolittle received the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement.
- On December 11, 1981, Doolittle was awarded Honorary Naval Aviator wings in recognition of his many years of support of military aviation by Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Thomas B. Hayward.
- In 1983, Doolittle was awarded the Sylvanus Thayer Award.
- The city of Doolittle, Missouri, located 5 miles west of Rolla was named in his honor after World War II.
- Doolittle was invested into the Sovereign Order of Cyprus and his medallion is now on display at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
- His Bolivian Order of the Condor of the Andes is in the collection of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
- In 1967, James H. Doolittle was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame.
- The Society of Experimental Test Pilots annually presents the James H. Doolittle Award in his memory. The award is for "outstanding accomplishment in technical management or engineering achievement in aerospace technology".
- Doolittle was inducted into the International Air & Space Hall of Fame at the San Diego Air & Space Museum in 1966.
- The oldest residence hall on Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's campus, Doolittle Hall (1968), was named in his honor.
- He was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1989.
- Air & Space/Smithsonian ranked him the greatest aviator in history.
- Flying magazine ranked him 6th on its list of the 51 Heroes of Aviation.
- Doolittle Avenue, a residential street in Arcadia, California, is named for Jimmy Doolittle, according to a longtime resident.
- Doolittle Drive (California State Route 61) runs along the east side of the Oakland Airport (OAK) in Oakland, California. It parallels Earhart Road (another aviation-themed name), then heads toward Hayward, California.
- A television special, All-Star Tribute to General Jimmy Doolittle, aired in 1986 to honor his 90th birthday. Celebrity appearances included Bob Hope, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan.
- General Doolittle was named as the inaugural class exemplar at the United States Air Force Academy for the Class of 2000.
In popular culture
- Spencer Tracy played Doolittle in Mervyn LeRoy's 1944 film Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo. This portrayal has received much praise.
- Alec Baldwin played Doolittle in Michael Bay's 2001 film Pearl Harbor.
- Vincent Riotta played Jimmy Doolittle in Bille August's 2017 film The Chinese Widow aka The Hidden Soldier.
- Aaron Eckhart played Doolittle in Roland Emmerich's 2019 film Midway.
- Bob Clampett's 1946 cartoon Baby Bottleneck briefly portrays a dog named "Jimmy Do-quite-a-little", who invents a failed rocket ship.
- Fogerty, Robert P. (1953). "Biographical Data on Air Force General Officers, 1917-1952, Volume 1 – A thru L" (PDF). Air Force Historical Research Agency. pp. 476–480. USAF historical studies: no. 91. Archived (PDF) from the original on August 31, 2021. Retrieved November 9, 2021.
- "General James Harold Doolittle > U.S. Air Force > Biography Display". www.af.mil. Retrieved July 6, 2019.
- "Gen. Jimmy Doolittle Dies; War Hero, Aviation Pioneer : Flight: The celebrated ace, who grew up on the L.A. streets, was 96. He led daring 1942 Tokyo bombing raid". Los Angeles Times. September 28, 1993. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved July 6, 2019.
- "Jimmy Doolittle Given Fourth Star by Reagan". Associated Press. June 14, 1985 – via LA Times.
- "10 All-Time Great Pilots". Air & Space. 2003.
- "51 Heroes of Aviation". Flying Magazine. 2013.
- "General James Jimmy" (PDF).
- Berliner 2009, p. 37.
- Quigley, Samantha L. "Detroit Defied Reality to Help Win World War II". United Service Organizations. Retrieved January 8, 2016.
- Flight October 29, 1925, p.703.
- "An American Hero". Air Force Magazine. Retrieved April 20, 2021.
- Preston, Edmund (ed.). "FAA Historical Chronology: Civil Aviation and the Federal Government, 1926–1996" (PDF). Repository and Open Science Access Portal; National Transportation Library; United States Department of Transportation. United States Federal Aviation Administration. p. 9. Retrieved October 5, 2020.
Sep 24, 1929: At Mitchel Field, N.Y., Army Lt. James H. Doolittle became the first pilot to use only instrument guidance to take off, fly a set course, and land. Doolittle received directional guidance from a radio range course aligned with the airport runway, while radio marker beacons indicated his distance from the runway. [...] He flew in a hooded cockpit, but was accompanied by a check pilot who could have intervened in an emergency.
- Donald M. Pattillo. A History in the Making: 80 Turbulent Years in the American General Aviation Industry. p. 16.
- Defense Jimmy Doolittle
- Schlaifer, Robert (April 10, 1950). "Development of Aircraft Engines: Two Studies of Relations Between Government and Business". Division of Research, Graduate School of Business Administration, Harvard University – via Google Books.
- Herman, Arthur. Freedom's Forge: How American Business Produced Victory in World War II, pp. 114, 219–22, 239, 279, Random House, New York, NY. ISBN 978-1-4000-6964-4.
- "From Shangri-La to Tokyo: The Doolittle Raid, April 18, 1942". www.army.mil.
- "Last of WW2 'Doolittle Raiders' Dick Cole dies aged 103". BBC News. April 9, 2019.
- Wolk 2003, pp. 21–22.
- Antony Beevor (2012). The Second World War. p. 503. ISBN 978-0-7538-2824-3.
- G. H. Spaulding, CAPT, USN (Ret). "Enigmatic Man". Retrieved November 20, 2010.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- "WWII 8thAAF COMBAT CHRONOLOGY - JANUARY 1944 THROUGH JUNE 1944". July 28, 2012. Archived from the original on July 28, 2012. Retrieved November 2, 2021.
THURSDAY, 6 JANUARY 1944 - STRATEGIC OPERATIONS (Eighth Air Force): Lieutenant General James H Doolittle assumes command, replacing Lieutenant General Ira C Eaker who will go to Italy as Commanding General Mediterranean Allied Air Force (MAAF).
- "Effect of the North American P-51 Mustang On the Air War in Europe". www.combatsim.com. Retrieved December 18, 2019.
- s. "James H. Doolittle". HISTORY. Retrieved December 18, 2019.
- p. 154 Brown, Jerold E. Historical Dictionary of the U.S. Army Greenwood Publishing Group, 2001
- p. 105 Zellers, Larry In Enemy Hands: A Prisoner in North Korea University Press of Kentucky, 1 November 1999
- p. 51 Bogle, Lori L. The Pentagon's Battle for the American Mind: The Early Cold War Texas A&M University Press, 12 October 2004
- Doolittle, General James H. "Jimmy" with Carroll V. Glines (1991). I Could Never Be So Lucky Again. New York: Bantam Books. p. 515.
- Goddard, Esther and G. Edward Pendray, eds. (1970). The Papers of Robert H. Goddard, 3 vols. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co. pp. 1208–16.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
- Putnam, William D.; Emme, Eugene M. (September 2012). "I Was There: "The Tremendous Potential of Rocketry"". Air and Space Magazine. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
- Bilstein, Roger E. (1980). Stages to Saturn. Gainesville: University Press of Florida. p. 34.
- John Keel (1996). Operation Trojan Horse (PDF). p. 122. ISBN 978-0962653469. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 20, 2013.
- Wolk, Herman S. (1998). "When the Color Line Ended". Air Force Magazine. 81 (7).
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20 February 1952: President Truman established a temporary Airport Commission under the chairmanship of James H. Doolittle, with CAA Administrator C. F. Horne and J. C. Hunsaker of NACA as members. The action responded to a series of crashes, due to varied causes, in the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area. These events had raised residents’ fears and prompted authorities to close Newark Airport temporarily
- "Members of the MIT Corporation". mit.edu.
- Putnam, William D. and Eugene M. Emme (September 2012). "I Was There: 'The Tremendous Potential of Rocketry'". Air & Space Magazine. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
- "Public Welfare Award". National Academy of Sciences. Archived from the original on December 29, 2010. Retrieved February 17, 2011.
- Kaplan, Tracey (September 23, 1990). "Ground-Level Monuments Honor Heroes of the Air". The Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, California. p. 840 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Doolittle Hall, Academy Drive, USAF Academy". Retrieved August 25, 2021 – via Google Earth.
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- Rife, Susan L. (July 20, 2006). "My grandfather The General". Herald Tribune. Retrieved May 1, 2009.
- "James Doolittle Jr. Commits Suicide". Lewiston Evening Journal. Lewiston/Auburn, Maine. Associated Press. p. 5 – via Google News Archive Search.
- "James "Jimmy" H. Doolittle". www.arlingtoncemetery.mil.
- "Post Mortem – Bill Bower dies; Doolittle Raider was last surviving pilot". washingtonpost.com.
- "Famous masons". Dalhousie Lodge F. & A.M., Newtonville, Massachusetts. Archived from the original on September 3, 2018.
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- "Celebrating More Than 100 Years of Freemasonry: Famous Masons in History". Matawan Lodhe N0 192 F&AM, New Jersey. Archived from the original on September 30, 2018. Retrieved October 13, 2018.
Jimmy Doolittle, 33°, Grand Cross.
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With special dispensation from the Grand Lodge of California and the Grand Lodge of Louisiana, Doolittle was given all three degrees on August 16th, 1918 in Lake Charles Lodge No. 16.
- Official Register of Commissioned Officers of the United States Army, 1926. p. 165.
- "World War II (A-F); Doolittle, Jimmy entry". Medal of Honor recipients. United States Army Center of Military History. August 3, 2009. Archived from the original on June 16, 2008. Retrieved March 21, 2010.
- "Horatio Alger Association Member Information". Horatioalger.org. Archived from the original on September 13, 2012. Retrieved July 8, 2014.
- "Golden Plate Awardees of the American Academy of Achievement". www.achievement.org. American Academy of Achievement.
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- "Go Flight". National Air and Space Museum. June 23, 2016.
- "San Diego Air & Space Museum – Historical Balboa Park, San Diego". sandiegoairandspace.org.
- Jimmy Doolittle at the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America
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- "General Doolittle Still the Hero at MiramarTribute".
- "All-Star Tribute to General Jimmy Doolittle".
|Presentation by Jonna Doolittle Hoppes on Calculated Risk: The Extraordinary Life of Jimmy Doolittle, Aviation Pioneer and World War II Hero, May 18, 2006, C-SPAN|
- Berliner, Don (December 2010 – January 2010). "The Big Race of 1910". Air & Space. 24 (6): 34–39.
- Doolittle, James H.; Glines, Carroll V. (1991). I Could Never Be So Lucky Again: An Autobiography. Bantam Books. ISBN 978-0553078077.
- Glines, Carroll V. (1972). Jimmy Doolittle: Daredevil Aviator and Scientist. Macmillan. OCLC 488509.
- "The 1925 Schneider Trophy Race". Flight. October 29, 1925. p. 703. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 8, 2008.
- Hoppes, Jonna Doolittle (2005). Calculated Risk. ISBN 1-891661-44-2.
- Wolk, Herman S. (2003). Fulcrum of Power: Essays on the United States Air Force and National Security (PDF). Washington, D.C.: Air Force History and Museums Program. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
- SSG Cornelius Seon (Retired) (adapted public domain text). "United States Air Force". Archived from the original on April 29, 2009. Retrieved March 21, 2010.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to James Harold Doolittle.|
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Jimmy Doolittle|
- "Travis Air Museum, supporting the Jimmy Doolittle Air & Space Museum". Archived from the original on February 2, 2011. Retrieved March 21, 2010.
- "Maritimequest Doolittle Raid Photo Gallery". Retrieved March 21, 2010.
- William R. Wilson. "Article: Jimmy Doolittle Reminiscences About World War II". Archived from the original on September 7, 2008. Retrieved March 21, 2010.
- "Medal of Honor recipients on film". Retrieved March 21, 2010.
- "Interview with granddaughter Joanna Doolittle Hoppes at the Pritzker Military Library". Retrieved March 21, 2010.
- "DoolittleRaiders.com". Retrieved March 21, 2010.
- The short film 15 AF Heritage – High Strategy – Bombers and Tankers Team (1980) is available for free download at the Internet Archive.
- The short film Activities of the U.S. Army Air Service (1925) is available for free download at the Internet Archive.
- "Doolittle Tames the Gee Bee"—Story of the 1932 Thompson Trophy race. Includes quotes, photos, video