By Staff Sgt. Torri Ingalsbe, Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs Command Information / Published April 16, 2015
WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Leaders from the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate presented the Congressional Gold Medal to the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders April 15 at the U.S. Capitol Visitor’s Center Emancipation Hall.
The medal, created by the U.S. Mint, is the highest civilian honor Congress can give on behalf of the American people.
“We want to thank Congress for enacting and presenting the Congressional Gold Medal to the Tokyo Raiders this day,” said retired Lt. Col. Richard “Dick” E. Cole, one of the two remaining Raiders. “We are honored to accept this prestigious and most appreciated award.”
Seventy-three years ago, 80 men achieved the unimaginable when they took off from an aircraft carrier on a top secret mission to bomb Japan. These men, led by Lt. Col. James H. “Jimmy” Doolittle, came to be known as the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, Sen. Sherrod Brown, and Congressman Pete Olson presented the medal, and Lt. Gen. John “Jack” Hudson, the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force director, accepted the medal on behalf of the Raiders.
“If here, the Raiders would tell you that they just wanted to help out with our nation’s war effort,” Hudson said. “The Doolittle Raiders’ service model of excellence … is an inspiration for all of today’s military.”
On April 18, the 73rd anniversary of the raid, the medal will be presented to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force by Cole, a co-pilot of Crew No. 1, during a ceremony at the museum. The other surviving Raider, Staff Sgt. David J. Thatcher, an engineer-gunner of Crew No. 7, is also planning to attend.