Flyover Recalls Doolittle

Photo courtesy Alameda Naval Air Museum

 

Last Saturday, the Southern California Wing of the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) flew a B-25 Mitchell over the former Naval Air Station. The event commemorated the 75th anniversary of the April 1, 1942 departure of the USS Hornet CV-8, carrying 16 B-25s on their way to bomb Japan. 
 
The above view from the B-25 taken during the flight shows the runways that Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle and his pilots landed on with the aircraft used in the bombing raid. 
 
Also in the picture is the USS Hornet, CV-12 that replaced the carrier that played such an important role in Doolittle’s mission. A torpedo struck and disabled CV-8 at the Battle of San Cruz Islands on Oct. 26, 1942. Vice Admiral William Halsey ordered the Navy to sink the crippled carrier. 
“As a crew member and someone that worked restoring this airplane I can tell you we were all very proud to have the opportunity to do this last B-25 Mitchell flight over NAS Alameda,” said CAF’s Dan Newcomb. “I thought of the nine Doolittle raider crew members that didn’t make it back and that the last runway they landed on in America was now below me. I imagined the roar of 22 B-25’s flying in from Sacramento of which 16 would be hoisted aboard the carrier.” 

The restored B-25 plane took three loops over the former Alameda Naval Air Station runways in front of an estimated 250 cheering fans of all ages at the Alameda Naval Air Museum (ANAM). The B-25 flew out of the Southern California Commemorative Air Force Museum in Camarillo, Calif. 

To celebrate the anniversary ANAM hosts wore period attire, and transported visitors in antique automobiles and military jeeps the half mile to the end of the seaplane tarmac. After the B-25 departed, the gate was opened allowing people to walk onto the very runway that the Raiders used to fly into Alameda.

A relative of one of the raiders, Jim Bowers of Colorado, presented Marshall Davis, the leader of the history walk, with a replica of the Medal of Honor that was given to Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle after the raid.

ANAM Board Secretary Robbie Dileo thanked the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) and Veterans Administration, that operate and own the runway areas, and the City of Alameda for their help in hosting the event. 

Susan Euing of USFWS gave a presentation on the endangered Least Tern and John Majerle of the VA gave updated plans for construction of the hospital and columbarium. 

In all, ANAM reports almost 200 people paid to visit museum exhibits, have refreshments, hear Marshall Davis’ lecture and completed the historical walk with a visit to Pier 2. 

For those who missed it, a video of the day featuring B-25 footage is currently under production.

 

Photos Courtesy ANAM The crew of the historic B-25 bomber took this image of the Island City featuring the USS Hornet Museum prominently at lower right.