On this day in 1942, sixteen B-25 Mitchell bombers, designed solely for land based operations, lifted from the deck of the USS Hornet, and began the long flight to Tokyo.
The surprise attack on the Japanese capitol shocked the Japanese, and gave an immense boost to American morale. Prior to the news of the daring raid, virtually everywhere the American public looked, doom and despair were to be found. It seemed the US might lose the war. The public was still steeled to fight on, but needed a sign that their faith in the war effort was well placed.
Of the 80 airmen who launched, three were killed, three more were executed by the Japanese, five were held as prisoners by Japan. Only four airmen still live today.
Huzzah for one of the boldest operations ever undertaken. Let their spirit continue to inspire today’s warriors.