Monday, November 11, 2013

"Tell Jimmy to get on his horse"


For Veterans Day, a salute to the Doolittle Raiders. Pictured above and below is the namesake of the "horse" they rode, a mission that set the tone for the Pacific campaign in WWII. They set sail from this pier.

Three of the four surviving members met for one last time on Saturday.

Acting Air Force Secretary Eric Fanning said America was at a low point, after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and other Axis successes, before "these 80 men who showed the nation that we were nowhere near defeat." He noted that all volunteered for a mission with high risks throughout, from the launch of B-25 bombers from a carrier at sea, the attack on Tokyo, and lack of fuel to reach safe bases.

The Raiders have said they didn't realize at the time that their mission would be considered an important event in turning the war's tide. It inflicted little major damage physically, but changed Japanese strategy while firing up Americans.

The original Hornet that carried the Doolittle Raid was sunk by the Japanese in the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands. The USS Kearsarge, built a few years later in 1942, was renamed the USS Hornet CV-12 in honor of the sunken ship, and served as a workhorse in WWII, Korea and finally Vietnam. This is also the aircraft carrier that picked up Apollo astronauts when they returned home. The Hornet was decommissioned in 1970.

Today, it serves as a living museum in Alameda, docked next to the ready-reserve MV carriers and military-use crane ships, a historical landmark floating alongside the current working Navy.


The ship is 872 feet overall, hard to fit in the frame. (For comparison on then and now, the USS Gerald R. Ford, christened last week, is 1,106 ft.) Below is the bridge.