Ed's Blog

"Some people know everything, but that's all they know."

THIRTY SECONDS OVER TOKYO

Brief events often have the most profound and lasting impact. April 18 is the 70th anniversary of the Doolittle bombing raid on Tokyo, America’s first military strike against the Imperial Japanese homeland, four months after the attack on Pearl Harbor. That brief event had a profound and lasting effect on U.S. morale and the war effort following the shock and devastation of December 7, 1941. My brief relationship with a participant in that event had a profound and lasting impact on me. (Read the full column at EWRoss.com)

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12 Responses

  1. Reposted from LinkedIn says:

    LinkedIn Group: U.S. Veteran

    Discussion: THIRTY SECONDS OVER TOKYO

    The main effect of this raid was to eliminate some very well-reasoned objections to the IJN’s plan to attack Midway, which resulted in the strategic initiative in the Pacific shifting from Japan to the US.

    Sometimes, the best thing to do in a fight is to take on quick cheap shot to gain the initiative.

    Posted by Ken Prescott

  2. Reposted from LinkedIn says:

    LinkedIn Group: INTELLIGENCE & SECURITY

    Discussion: THIRTY SECONDS OVER TOKYO

    Thanks for posting – interesting article.

    Posted by Pat O’Hanlon

  3. Reposted from LinkedIn says:

    LinkedIn Group: U.S. Veteran

    Discussion: THIRTY SECONDS OVER TOKYO

    You are absolutely correct as to the main effect. Yet, with so many folks still confused as to the end of the war, it is useful to point out that it is now well-known and accepted doctrine that Japan didn’t quit the war because of the dropping of the bomb. Rather, they quit because the Soviet Union joined in the fight. A recent book on the subject sheds more light on it. Let me know if you’re interested, Mr. Prescott.

    Posted by Kenneth Bobu

  4. Reposted from LinkedIn says:

    LinkedIn Group: Foreign Area Officers

    Discussion: THIRTY SECONDS OVER TOKYO

    Good article, Ed.

    Posted by Charles ‘Ken’ Comer

  5. Reposted from LinkedIn says:

    LinkedIn Group: U.S. Veteran

    Discussion: THIRTY SECONDS OVER TOKYO

    I’ve read that argument over the years, and I don’t find it ESPECIALLY convincing; the Japanese didn’t believe that the USSR could get anybody onto the Home Islands on their own hook, and they didn’t believe that the US would provide the sealift. (Come to think of it, I don’t really believe we would’ve provided the sealift, either. The bloom was off of the Grand Alliance rose by that point.)

    I don’t overmuch trust Japanese sources on why-the-war-ended, for the same reason I don’t trust them on why the war started; a lot of the thought in those works is of the same mentality as the “Lost Cause” apologetics for the Confederacy.

    If you’re A-bomb-ended-the-war agnostic, there’s a book out there arguing that the last air raid on Tokyo allowed Japan to quit the war by disrupting a plot to seize the Emperor and prevent the broadcast of the surrender. It’s well argued. But I think the bombs allowed a bunch of key Japanese players to say “no, this time it’s REALLY different.”

    Posted by Ken Prescott

  6. Reposted from LinkedIn says:

    LinkedIn Group: Strategic Plans and Policy Experts

    Discussion: THIRTY SECONDS OVER TOKYO
    Great story!

    In 2008, I attended a reunion of Doolittle Raiders at Duke Field in the panhandle of Florida. The raiders had not been back to the field since they left for the raid, 66 years in 2008. Of the original raiders at that time (80 if I remember correctly), only 10 were left alive. I took that opportunity to do a couple of things: I bought the official history book on the raid and got the crew members and the author to sign it. Each of the crew added to their name, their plane number and crew position. Additionally, I got a painting of B-25s and they signed the painting as well. I never would have guessed that I would ever meet any of the raiders, so this was a wonderful experience.

    One interesting sidebar from this event. Two of these raiders, actually were participants in events that were depicted in films. One, of course, was THIRTY SECONDS OVER TOKYO and the other was THE GREAT ESCAPE. They were Davey Jones (MG ret) and LTC Cole. These two followed Doolittle to Africa after the raid and were shot down and captured. They found themselves in Germany in that camp.

    It also occurred to me that we are loosing these great veterans rapidly. I have had the opportunity to meet several of the veterans from the OSS and early members of the special operations community. It is sad that we don’t know more about these people who gave much without much fanfair.

    Thanks for your article.

    JN
    Posted by Jeff Nelson

  7. Col Vincent Alcazar says:

    A testament to the wonderful twists & turns of life; moreover, the value inherent to people we encounter in life. As I labor with a writing project, I was “taught” by your personal example; as for me, onward to serious editing. But, it is the power of our individual military service. We are there as history is written.

    Colonel Vincent Alcazar
    Headquarters Air Force

  8. Bob says:

    Great article Ed,
    It seems we never hear enough about the key players that are somewhat behind the scenes of successful military operations. Since the raid had to be launched earlier and farther out from Japan’s homeland, Captain Jurika’s navigation and target location expertise no doubt became all the more important in relation to fuel consumption.

  9. Ed, that was the greatest generation indeed, at least of the past century. History buffs – check out my great-uncle George Mundy’s adventure over Nagoya, June 1945, in which he had to ditch his bomber in the harbor. All of his crew bailed out and survived, picked up by a US sub. The best part: caught on film! You can read about it and watch it here, narrated by one of the crew watching it decades later. http://39th.org/39th/aerial/60th/Crew_13/crew13vid.html

  10. Reposted from LinkedIn says:

    LinkedIn Group: Defense Executive Network

    Discussion: THIRTY SECONDS OVER TOKYO

    Doolittle and the Raiders were courageous, the modification-striping of the B-25 Bombers so as to be able to launch from a carrier deck was daring, masterful and the success of the mission placed a dagger in the heart of Imperial Japan and its forces. “The Sleeping Giant had struck and was filled with a terrible resolve” as prophesized by Naval Marshall General & Commander in Chief of the Combined Japanese Fleet, Isoroku Yamamoto, a Havard student(1919-21).

    Posted by Doug Kirk

  11. Phil Keuhlen says:

    Ed – Thanks for the profile of Dr. Jurika. I had not heard the story of his role in the Doolittle raid. He was the second reader on my thesis in the spring of ’79, and he was tougher than my advisor (Dr Burke), who was no slouch. There were days I wondered if I would make it out of Monterey on time to my next assignment!

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