Mitchells from around the US will once again take to the skies before landing at the National Museum of the USAF as part of a two-day tribute commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Doolittle Tokyo Raid, April 17-18. The next edition of FlyPast, out next month, will feature a special Mitchell-related feature and a list of airworthy surviving aircraft.
Images: National Museum of the USAF
The current plans call for 17 B-25 bombers to land on the runway behind the museum on April 17 and be placed on static display from 10am – 4:30pm. The aircraft will remain available for public view on April 18 from 9am – noon, before departing for a flyover prior to the start of a memorial service in the museum’s Memorial Park at 2:30pm.
The memorial service is scheduled to conclude with a flight of two B-1 bombers from the 34th and 37th Bomb Squadrons at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, which were two of the four Army Air Corps Squadrons from which the B-25 aircrews were selected for the Doolittle Raid. These events are free and open to the public.
Of the 80 Raiders led by James H ‘Jimmy Doolittle in 1942, only one survives today – Lt Col Richard ‘Dick’ Cole – who served as Doolittle’s co-pilot on Crew No 1. Richard, now 101 years old, plans to be at the museum to commemorate the anniversary and will privately honour fellow Raider SSgt David Thatcher, who passed away last year.
Images depict previous Doolittle anniversary events at the museum. NMUSAF