Putting America Back On The Map: The Doolittle Raid

By Annalisa Underwood, Naval History and Heritage Command Communication and Outreach Division

USS Hornet (CV-8) launches Army Air Force B-25B bombers, at the start of the first U.S. air raid on the Japanese home islands, 18 April 1942.

USS Hornet (CV-8) launches Army Air Force B-25B bombers, at the start of the first U.S. air raid on the Japanese home islands, 18 April 1942.

Today marks the 75th anniversary of the Doolittle Raid, a joint operation between the U.S Navy and the U.S. Army Air Forces that greatly reinvigorated our country’s morale after the devastating attack on Pearl Harbor just four months earlier. The  infographic below maps out the raid as it took place, showing where the 16 B-25 medium-range bombers, led by Lt. Col. James H. Doolittle, launched from the USS Hornet (CV 8) 650 miles outside of Japan. Meanwhile, then Vice Adm. William F. Halsey, Jr. commanded the task force that would lend support for the raiders. While the unexpected air raid did inflict damage upon at least five major Japanese cities, including the capital of Tokyo, a forced launch 250 miles farther out from the originally planned launch site meant that the B-25s weren’t going to have enough fuel to make it to their designated landing site on the eastern coast of China. Instead, 15 B-25s were abandoned or crash-landed in China and one landed near Vladivostok in what was then the USSR. In all, seven Doolittle Raiders lost their lives in this risky operation. For a more comprehensive look at the Doolittle Raid, check out this blog.

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