Look up the words Bravery and Courage and you’ll find the following:
Bravery is, “a quality of spirit that enables you to face danger or pain without showing fear.”
Courage is, “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty”
How many people know about the Doolittle Raid that took place on April 18, 1942? This month will be 73 years since the historic raid, but very few people will talk about it.
The raid was significant and amazing because of what the pilots and crews did. On that date, sixteen B-25 bombers with five-man crews launched from an aircraft carrier and headed toward their targets in Japan.
Launching a bomber off an aircraft carrier had never been done before by any of the pilots until that day. They had no fighter support and they weren’t coming back to the aircraft carrier either. This was a one-way trip. The plan was for them to land at bases in China.
While en route, the American task force of ships was spotted by a Japanese boat, which radioed an attack warning. That ship was sunk and it was decided by Lieutenant Colonel Doolittle to launch the mission early.
The mission was launched 10 hours earlier and 170 nautical miles farther away from Japan than was planned. The bombers arrived about six hours later and hit their targets.
After dropping their bombs on Japan, the planes headed for China. As they got closer they knew they weren’t going to make the landing strips because of low fuel levels.
One plane landed in the Soviet Union. The other fifteen planes either crash landed or were ditched when their fuel ran out thirteen hours after launching off the USS Hornet.
What happened to them after that?
One was killed during bail-out. Two drowned off the China coast, three were executed by Japanese firing squad and one died of sickness and malnutrition in captivity.
The survivors had to avoid Japanese detection and were helped to safety by the local Chinese.
The mission was seen as a morale booster to the country after the Pearl Harbor attack.
Before the mission, the Japanese didn’t think this type of attack was possible. The Doolittle Raid showed them different.
This story brings me back to the words Bravery and Courage. Everyone knows the words, but do we really understand what they mean?
Just look at what those eighty men did 73 years ago and you have the true meaning of the words.
They also showed all of us what guts and hard work are too.
So, when times get tough, we can all learn something from the Doolittle Raiders.