77 years ago (April 18, 1942), 80 brave men did what had never been attempted: they flew 16 army B-25B Mitchell bombers off a U.S. aircraft carrier on their way to bomb Tokyo. The attack, which has become known to history as the Doolittle Raid, was America’s first strike back at Japan after the infamous sneak attack on Pearl Harbor that brought the United States into World War II. In this report, Mount Pleasant author James Scott talks about the significance of the raid to the war, and its great psychological effect on the Japanese public, which thought the country’s position across the sea made it invulnerable to attack from the United States. “Here we are, just a few months after the attack on Pearl Harbor. And this is not an attack on some far-flung island in the Japanese Empire. These are American bombers in the skies over Tokyo.”
Scott also relates Columbia’s connection to the historic attack: all the raiders were initially gathered here and volunteered for the mission in South Carolina’s capital city. We also hear excerpts from a 2016 interview with Lt. Col. Dick Cole, the last surviving raider, who recently passed away at age 103. Cole talks about how he accidently came to be the co-pilot of legendary pilot and raid leader Jimmy Doolittle.