Doolittle Raid 80th Anniversary Celebration Scheduled for Saturday

USS Hornet Museum--The USS Hornet Sea, Air & Space Museum will hold an anniversary celebration of the Doolittle Raid this Saturday.

Doolittle Raid 80th Anniversary Celebration Scheduled for Saturday

The USS Hornet Museum will be holding an event to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Doolittle Raid with a presentation, special exhibit and more on Saturday, April 16th. The event takes place from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. The main event starts at 11 a.m.

Chuck Meyers, a technical consultant on the film Midway, will be the featured speaker at the event. Midway is a 2019 war film about the Battle of Midway, a turning point in the Pacific Theater of World War II.

By January 1942, the news coming from the war fronts was bad. The Pearl Harbor naval base had been attacked with heavy loss of life and warships. Hong Kong, Singapore, the East Indies, Guam, and the Philippines had already been lost or were about to fall. Japanese aircraft carriers had ranged far and wide, raiding in the Indian Ocean and Darwin, Australia.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt challenged his military commanders to get a measure of revenge for the Pearl Harbor surprise attack. It was too risky to send aircraft carriers close enough to Japan with short ranged naval aircraft. But there were no major airfields left in Asia from which to launch strikes with larger aircraft. However, it was thought that Army bombers, taking off from a Navy carrier, would allow U.S. ships to conduct the raid while staying safely out of range of Japanese home island defenders.

By February, U.S. Army and Navy commanders had hatched a joint plan to hit the Japanese. The plan was to send two aircraft carriers (and their escorts) close enough to Japan to launch 16 USAAF B-25s. One carrier, USS-Hornet CV-8, would carry the bombers and the other, USS Enterprise CV-6, would provide search, anti-submarine and combat air patrol aircraft.

This was the first war-related mission for the brand-new USS Hornet (CV-8). The Army B-25 bombers were loaded aboard the historic Alameda Naval Air Station, where the USS Hornet (CV-12) now resides as a museum ship.

This year is the 80th anniversary of that famous mission in World War II, now called the “Doolittle Raid,” named after Alameda’s own Jimmy Doolittle who helped plan and lead the attack. A joint services operation that dramatically altered the course of WWII in the Pacific.

The USS Hornet Sea, Air & Space Museum is located at 707 West Hornet Ave.