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“D” is for Doolittle Raiders

“D” is for Doolittle Raiders. On April 18, 1942, eighty Americans and sixteen B-25 bombers carried out the first attack on the Japanese Islands following Pearl Harbor. The participants began training for the mission in Columbia. After Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt directed his military leaders to find a way to strike back. The assignment was given to Colonel Jimmy Doolittle. He was authorized to select and train sixteen crews to fly land-based B-25s off the deck of an aircraft carrier, a first in aviation history. On April 1st the Raiders and their planes left the West Coast aboard the carrier Hornet. Seventeen days later they flew off the carrier deck to strike Japan. While the mission of the Doolittle Raiders had no strategic value, it nevertheless gave the American nation a tremendous morale boost.

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.