Today’s turn its for one of that people that deserves his own Hollywood movie, meet James H. Doolittle.
Born in California in 1896, Doolittle was a short kid, such thing made him being bullied by his classmates till he started boxing, turning de odds and giving him a strong personality but his first contact with aviation occurred like in most cases, during the Great War, when he enlisted to the U.S. Army Signal Corps to finally become a flight instructor widely known for pushing the planes forward their limits and tunning them to make them overperform, but his flight peak occurred during the interwar period.
After World War I, James Doolittle graduated in Aeronautic Engineering in the MIT and eventually becoming a Doctor. During this time, Doolittle invented most of the most usual instruments of flight which he used in 1929 to make the first completely blind flight across the United States, earning him the Harmon Trophy, (a prize for the most outstanding aviator of the year) and eventually made all-weather flights possible. Outstanding achievements but not the biggest in Doolittle career.
After 1930, Doolittle transferred to the reserve till 1940, when he became the president of the Institute of Aeronautical Science and was issued with the task of transforming civil factories into military ones after the war was coming closer, then came Pearl Harbor.
On December 7 of 1942, the Japanese strike carrier forces stroke the US Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor base in Honolulu, four months after, Doolittle was planning and leading a retaliation attack on the Japanese major island, known as the Doolittle Raid. Sixteen B-25 Mitchell bombers, not suitable for carrier-based operations, striking above their maximum range, with no escorts nor even machineguns inside, took off from a carrier, managed for a one-way trip to Japan where the raid ended with Tokyo and other five major cities being bombed by surprise.
Eventually, most of the planes achieved to land in Chine (Which was in war against Japan for years) except one that landed in the USSR. Against all odds most of the crew recruited by Doolittle (All voluntaries) managed to survive (69 from 80) and even that the damage delivered to the Japanese Empire was minimal the moral given to the United States was priceless and the humiliation delivered to the Japanese High Command that finally agreed on attacking Midway, an event that deserves its own article…
After this action, Doolittle was awarded the Medal of Honor and continued serving in the leadership of US Air Forces in the Pacific, Africa and Europe, during and after the war until 1959 with the rank of General. For his actions and achievements in aviation, James H. Doolittle was introduced in the Aviation Hall of Fame in 1967. Just to note, some Hollywood recreations of the Doolittle Raid can be found on the films: Pearl Harbor and Midway (I personally recommend the second).