The famous Doolittle Tokyo Raiders are to receive a Congressional Gold Medal on April 15 and present it three days later to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.
U.S. House and Senate leaders are to award the medal for what the 80 bomber crew members, led by Lt. Col. James Doolittle, achieved 73 years earlier—a daring raid on Japan in response to its sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii which had plunged the United States into World War II. The attack, flown in B-25 bombers launched from an aircraft carrier, boosted American morale and caused Japan to pull back some of its forces to protect its home islands.
The medal is the highest civilian honor the United States Congress can bestow. Retired Lt. Col. Richard “Dick” Cole will present the medal to the museum in a ceremony on Saturday, April 18, the 73rd anniversary of the raid. Raider Staff Sgt. David J. Thatcher is also planning to attend, according to a museum announcement. They are two of only three Doolittle Raiders still alive. The third is Lt. Col. Robert L. Hite.
The medal will be on permanent display at the museum following the ceremony as part of the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders diorama, which features a North American B-25 on the simulated deck of the USS Hornet.
Public interested in attending the ceremony and reception can purchase tickets through the Air Force Museum Foundation at http://www.afmuseum.com/doolittle. Only 400 tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. No phone or walk-in orders will be accepted.