Wednesday, August 20, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Doolittle Raiders make final toast in Ohio

David Thatcher, Edward Saylor, Richard Cole

Three of the four surviving members of the 1942 Tokyo raid led by Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle — from left, David Thatcher, Edward Saylor and Richard Cole, pose Saturday next to a monument marking the raid at National Museum for the US Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. AP photo

By
From page A2 | November 10, 2013 |

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — The last of the Doolittle Raiders, all in their 90′s, offered a final toast Saturday to their fallen comrades, as they pondered their place in history after a day of fanfare about their 1942 attack on Japan.

“May they rest in peace,” Lt. Col. Richard Cole, 98, said before the three Raiders present sipped an 1896 cognac from specially engraved silver goblets. The cognac was saved for the occasion after being passed down from their late commander, Lt. Gen. James “Jimmy” Dolittle, who was born in 1896.

In a ceremony Saturday evening at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force near Dayton, Ohio, hundreds of people including family members of deceased Raiders watched as the three Raiders each called out “here” as a historian read the names of all 80 of the original airmen.

A B-25 bomber flyover helped cap an afternoon memorial tribute in which a wreath was placed at the Doolittle Raider monument outside the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force near Dayton. Museum officials estimated some 10,000 people turned out for Veterans Day weekend events honoring the 1942 mission credited with rallying American morale and throwing the Japanese off balance.

Acting Air Force Secretary Eric Fanning said America was at a low point, after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and other Axis successes, before “these 80 men who showed the nation that we were nowhere near defeat.” He noted that all volunteered for a mission with high risks throughout, from the launch of B-25 bombers from a carrier at sea, the attack on Tokyo, and lack of fuel to reach safe bases.

Only four of the 80 are still alive. The Raiders said, at the time, they didn’t realize their mission would be considered an important event in turning the war’s tide. It inflicted little major damage physically, but changed Japanese strategy while firing up Americans.

“It was what you do … over time, we’ve been told what effect our raid had on the war and the morale of the people,” Lt. Col. Edward Saylor, 93, said in an interview.

The Brusset, Mont. native, who now lives in Puyallup, Wash., said he was one of the lucky ones.

“There were a whole bunch of guys in World War II; a lot of people didn’t come back,” he said.

Staff Sgt. David Thatcher, 92, of Missoula, Mont., said during the war, the raid seemed like “one of many bombing missions.” The most harrowing part for him was the crash-landing of his plane, depicted in the movie “Thirty Seconds over Tokyo.”

Three crew members died as Raiders bailed out or crash-landed their planes in China, but most were helped to safety by Chinese villagers and soldiers.

Three of the four surviving Raiders were greeted by flag-waving well-wishers ranging from small children to fellow war veterans. The fourth couldn’t travel because of health problems.

Twelve-year-old Joseph John Castellano’s grandparents brought him from their Dayton home for Saturday’s events.

“This was Tokyo. The odds of their survival were 1 in a million,” the boy said. “I just felt like I owe them a few short hours of the thousands of hours I will be on Earth.”

More than 600 people, including Raiders widows and children, descendants of Chinese villagers who helped them, and Pearl Harbor survivors, were expected for the invitation-only ceremony Saturday evening.

After Thomas Griffin of Cincinnati died in February at age 96, the survivors decided at the 71st anniversary reunion in April in Fort Walton, Beach, Fla., that it would be their last and that they would gather this autumn for one last toast together instead of waiting, as had been the original plan, for the last two survivors to make the toast.

“We didn’t want to get a city all excited and plan and get everything set up for a reunion, and end up with no people because of our age,” explained Lt. Col. Richard Cole, the oldest survivor at 98. The Dayton native, who was Doolittle’s co-pilot, lives in Comfort, Texas.

Lt. Col. Robert Hite, 93, couldn’t come. Son Wallace Hite said his father, wearing a Raiders blazer and other traditional garb for their reunions, made his own salute to the fallen with a silver goblet of wine at home in Nashville, Tenn., earlier in the week.

Hite is the last survivor of eight Raiders who were captured by Japanese soldiers. Three were executed; another died in captivity.

The 80 silver goblets in the ceremony were presented to the Raiders in 1959 by the city of Tucson, Ariz. The Raiders’ names are engraved twice, the second upside-down. During the ceremony, white-gloved cadets pour cognac into the participants’ goblets. Those of the deceased are turned upside-down.

————

By Dan Sewell. Contact the reporter at http://www.twitter.com/dansewell

Comments

comments

The Associated Press

.

News

 
Report details the face of hunger in Yolo County

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Summer jobs aren’t always in the bag

By Spencer Ault | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Davis Arts Center gets a new look, thanks to Brooks

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1 | Gallery

More details emerge in Woodland officer shootings

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Bob Dunning: Taking on a Specktacular challenge

By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2 | Gallery

For the record

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

 
The big moveout, on ‘Davisville’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Sunder campaign will be at Farmers Market

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Classic car show slated in Woodland

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Students can practice safe bike routes to junior highs

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

 
‘Monsters University’ to be screened in Central Park

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

California regulators approve PG&E rate hike

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
America’s ‘it’ school? Look west, Harvard

By New York Times News Service | From Page: B3

School board preps for new academic year

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A3

 
Public opinion sought about Nishi Gateway

By Lily Holmes | From Page: A4

 
Davis Art Garage honored; bench dedication set

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8 | Gallery

Woodland historical award winners announced

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

 
.

Forum

Can’t understand this change

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

Delta-friendly water bond is a win for all of California

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Bravo! The road diet works

By Rich Rifkin | From Page: A6

Support water bond in November

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Relay for Life team says thanks

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

.

Sports

Aggie QB is back to pass … Touchdown, Tina! Tina?

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Hard hoops schedule features defending national champs at UCD

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Crisp’s big hit helps A’s

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

UCD roundup: Aggie gymnasts are awesome at academics

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
Sacramento scores early to snap skid

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8

Unplayable? Cubs, rain hand Giants a loss

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
.

Features

Food that travels well for cooking out

By Julie Cross | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
.

Arts

 
Crowd funding campaign offers support for Art Theater of Davis

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

 
Visit Crawfish and Catfish Festival in Woodland

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

Artists invited to paint at Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
Goldberg, Milstein to play at Village Homes

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7 | Gallery

The voice on the CD comes alive at Music Together concert

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

Railroad museum will host Aberbach memorial

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Wednesday, August 20, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B6