An enthusiastic group of 38 attendees recently gathered at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church to hear Lakewood Historical Society Board Member Phil Raschke give a 45 minute presentation honoring the famous World War II Doolittle Raid on Japan.
The April 18, 1942 raid was the first American attack on the Japanese home islands since the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor. It was also the first time Army bombers were launched from a Navy aircraft carrier during wartime. The name “Doolittle Raiders” comes from the leader of the raid Lt. Col. James H. Doolittle.
Raschke’s presentation included background on who first conceived the idea of launching Army bombers from an aircraft carrier, the early discovery of the Raiders while still at sea, what their targets were in Japan, what happened to the Raiders following the raid and what impact did the raid have on the course of the war?”
Following the presentation, Raschke displayed a painting of the Raiders and their B-25 bombers aboard the aircraft carrier “Hornet” in route to their launch site. The painting was personally autographed by several of the Raiders to include crewmember Ed Saylor of Puyallup.
With the help of an audience member, Raschke also displayed the Congressional Gold Medal awarded to the Raiders on April 15, 2015.
The Congressional Gold Medal is only awarded to those “who have performed an achievement that has an impact on American history and that is likely to be recognized as a major achievement long after the event.”
Of the 80 brave volunteers who took part in this daring, history making raid, only 62 survived the war. As of this writing, only one member still remains with us, Lt. Richard E. Cole, age 103, Doolittle’s co-pilot on Plane Number 1.
You can check on the latest museum programs and updates at www.LakewoodHistorical.org.