DAYTON, Ohio – Viewers from around the world will be able to see two historic events as they unfold when the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders receive the highest civilian honor the United States Congress can bestow, and then present it for permanent public display.
On April 15 at 3 p.m., leaders of the U.S. House and Senate will gather at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center’s Emancipation Hall to present a Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders’ outstanding heroism and service to the United States during World War II.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), along with Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohioo), and Congressman Pete Olson (R-Texas) will take part in the bipartisan ceremony. National Museum of the U.S. Air Force Director Lt. Gen. John “Jack” Hudson will accept the medal on behalf of the Raiders. The event will be broadcast LIVE at Speaker.gov/live.
“It is a tremendous privilege to be invited to accept the Congressional Gold Medal on behalf of the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders,” Hudson said. “The medal is a well-deserved honor for these amazing World War II heroes.”
On April 18, the 73rd anniversary of the raid, the medal will be presented to the National Museum of the United States Air Force by one of the two surviving Raiders, Lt. Col. Richard “Dick” E. Cole, co-pilot of Crew No. 1, during a ceremony at the museum. The other surviving Raider, Staff Sgt. David J. Thatcher, engineer-gunner of Crew No. 7, is also planning to attend.
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.
Seventy-three years ago, 80 men achieved the unimaginable when they took off from an aircraft carrier on a top secret mission to bomb Japan. These men, led by Lt. Col. James H. “Jimmy” Doolittle, came to be known as the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders.
In honor of these World War II aviation heroes, the Air Force Museum Theatre will show “The Doolittle Raid: A Mission that Changed the War” with guest speaker Cindy Chal, daughter of Cole, on Friday, April 17, and Saturday, April 18, at 4 pm each day. Chal will speak following the 60-minute film.
The Air Force Museum Store will also offer book signings on Friday with Stan Cohen, author of “Destination Tokyo” and Saturday with Cohen and authors James M. Scott, “Target Tokyo,“ and Frank L. Goldstein, “The Last Reunion, 71st Doolittle Raiders Anniversary Reunion.”
The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, is the world’s largest military aviation museum. With free admission and parking, the museum features more than 360 aerospace vehicles and missiles and thousands of artifacts amid more than 17 acres of indoor exhibit space. Each year about 1 million visitors from around the world come to the museum.