Raiders, the collective group of American Fighter Aces, and the Civil Air
Patrol’s World War II veterans all were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal,
the highest honor Congress can bestow.
approved a resolution on Tuesday to award the Doolittle
Raiders the Congressional Gold for their “outstanding heroism, valor,
skill, and service in the United States” on April 18, 1942. The vote comes one
day after the House approved its version of the legislation.
On that day, more
than seven decades ago, 80 men, including retired Lt. Col. Richard Cole, one of
four surviving Doolittle Raiders who is on Capitol Hill this week for the passage of the resolution, flew 16 B-25 bombers off the deck of the USS Hornet on the first offensive mission
following the deadly attacks on Pearl Harbor.
The Raiders, led
by Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle, successfully struck their military and industrial
targets in Tokyo and five other cities, but were later forced to “crash-land in
China or Russia” due to low fuel and deteriorating weather conditions. Of the
eight men who were captured, only four returned home.
“The bravery of
the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders exemplifies our nation’s highest ideals and
values,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), who first introduced the legislation
in the Senate on Feb. 26, 2013. That same night, the fifth surviving crew
member, Maj. Tom Griffin, a navigator on plane No. 9, died.
1776, Americans of all walks of life have been honored with the Congressional
Gold Medal. Today, the Raiders are one step closer to receiving this fitting
honor. I urge President Obama to take immediate action to sign this legislation
and honor the remaining Raiders for their heroism,” added Brown.
The Raiders' Gold
Medal will be awarded to the group and will be housed at the National Museum of
the US Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, alongside the Doolittle
Tokyo Raider’s goblets, according to a May 21 release
from Brown’s office.
A bill to award
the Congressional Gold Medal to the collective group of American Fighter Aces “in recognition of their heroic military service and defense
of the nation's freedom” also is headed to the White House for Obama’s
“I am honored
that ahead of Memorial Day, Congress acted quickly and in a bipartisan manner
to honor the heroism, service, and sacrifice of all American Fighter Aces with
the Congressional Gold Medal. I can think of no group more deserving of
Congress’ highest recognition than this elite group of fighter pilots,” said
Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas.) in a May 21 release.
are the best of the best, the cream of the crop in air-to-air combat. … They
have contributed to the aerial supremacy of the United States; their efforts
have shortened wars and saved lives,” said Johnson in a separate
Congress also awarded
Civil Air Patrol's World War II veterans—the volunteers who defended US shores
from German U-boats—the Congressional Gold Medal on Monday.
and women of Civil Air Patrol stepped up and served their country when it
needed them during the darkest days of World War II, and it’s time we
recognized them and thanked them for their service," said Sen. Tom Harkin
(D-Iowa), who sponsored the bill, in a May 19 CAP release.
Air Patrol's valiant efforts in defending our coastline, providing combat
services, and flying dangerous humanitarian missions in America during World
War II embodies the American spirit," added Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas),
who introduced the bill in the House.
Some 120,000 CAP
volunteers are credited with flying 86,685 coastal patrol sorties, sinking
several German submarines. A total of 26
volunteers were killed in the line of duty and 74 aircraft were lost during the
war. CAP members also trained military pilots, towed targets, and conducted
search and rescue, and other missions in support of the war effort.
Daily Report: Read the day's top news on the US Air Force, airpower, and national security issues.
Tweets by @AirForceMag