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​Aircraft No. 1, flown by Lt. Col. James A. Doolittle right after its takeoff from the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Hornet on the morning of April 18, 1942. Courtesy of the US Navy.

​On April 18, 1942, at approximately 8:20 a.m., 16 B-25 bombers under the command of Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle began taking off from the USS Hornet, about 750 miles east of Japan. About noon, local time, they struck factories and other industrial targets in six Japanese cities. The attack had minimal effect on Japan’s military or industrial capabilities and was carried out at the cost of all the bombers in the raid. Seven airmen died or were killed after being captured. Four spent the duration of the war as POWs. Still, the mission had a profound effect on Americans, Japanese military leaders, and the Japanese people during the ensuing months. Seventy-five years later, the Doolittle Raid still has important lessons to teach.


Read our full story on The Doolittle Raid from the April/May issue of Air Force Magazine.