Community members joined veterans aboard the USS Hornet on Tuesday to honor the memory of the men who joined Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle on his April 18, 1942, raid on Japan. Kelly Estes, whose great-uncle Sgt. Donald Fitzmaurice lost his life during the raid, addressed those gathered for the ceremony (below).
Veterans and local residents gathered to remember this country’s entrance into World War II, Pearl Harbor Day, Dec. 7. Ceremonies were held aboard the USS Hornet and on Coast Guard Island last Wednesday.
June Idell Foster passed away on April 20. Her spirit lives on aboard the USS Hornet, however. A Bay Area native, Foster grew up in a military family and put her support behind military and veteran causes. This included contributing the funds to restore the Grumman TBM-3 Avenger torpedo bomber aboard the USS Hornet.
During restoration volunteers painted the Avenger with the markings of VT-17, a squadron that fought from the deck of USS Hornet CV-12 during World War II.
Military history, protection of endangered birds and support for military veterans shared an Alameda Point runway on Saturday, April 2, during a lecture tour sponsored by the Naval Air Museum. The occasion was the 74th anniversary of the departure of the USS Hornet to carry out the bombing raid on Japan led by Lt. Colonel Jimmy Doolittle.
The World War II Air Force squadron, the Doolittle Raiders, was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by President Obama on May 23. The medal is considered the highest honor Congress can give a civilian.
Congress awards the medal to individuals who have “performed an achievement that has an impact on American history and culture that is likely to be recognized as a major achievement in the recipient’s field long after the achievement,” according to the Congressional Research Service.
Benjamin Jenkins, Alameda resident of 20 years and veteran of the United States Marine Corps and United States Air Force, was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal for his service during World War II on Feb. 21.
The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian award bestowed by the U.S. Congress. In 2011, Congress awarded the medal to the Montford Point Marines, a segregated unit, of which Jenkins was a member.