ALAMEDA, Calif. — As part of Living Ship Day on April 16, the USS Hornet Museum will commemorate the 74th anniversary of World War II’s infamous Doolittle Tokyo Air Raid, which was led by Alameda-born Gen. James “Jimmy” Doolittle.
Events include a presentation by World War II veteran and former CV-8 crewmember, Richard Nowatzki who, as an eyewitness to the launch of the historic raid, will share his memories.
The Hornet’s April 16th Living Ship Day will run from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., and will include a big band performance by The Hornet Band from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The USS Hornet Museum is located at 707 W Hornet Ave, Pier 3 in Alameda. Normal admission prices apply. The media and public are invited.
Born in Chicago in 1922, Nowatzki was a young seaman fresh out of boot camp when he was assigned to the USS Hornet CV-8 before it was commissioned in October of 1941. His normal battle station was as a sight-setter on a 5-inch anti-aircraft gun at the aft end of the ship.
During the Tokyo Raid launch, Nowatzki positioned himself right next to the flight deck and watched as the 16 B-25s were launched on their one-way mission. He has many fond memories of the Army Air Forces flyers while they were en route across the Pacific to the take-off point. He remained part of the Hornet CV-8 crew until the carrier was sunk in combat in October 1942.
As one of the few living eyewitnesses to the April 18, 1942, launch of Doolittle Raid, Nowatzki will share vivid memories of the raid and other wartime experiences onboard the Hornet CV-8. His fascinating book about his career, Memoirs of a Navy Major, will also available for purchase and autograph during the Living Ship Day event.