The Commission of Fine Arts recommended for the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders congressional gold medal the designs preferred by the four surviving raiders. The Treasury secretary should give the raiders the designs they want.
This is an open letter to Treasury Secretary Jacob “Jake” Lew:
Dear Treasury Secretary Lew,
By statute, you have the final say for what designs will appear on the nation’s coins and medals, regardless of what the two congressionally authorized review panels — the Commission of Fine Arts and Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee — and even the U.S. Mint recommend.
Public Law 113-106, signed into law May 23, 2014, by President Obama, authorizes the issuance of a congressional gold medal recognizing “the World War II members of the ‘Doolittle Tokyo Raiders’, for outstanding heroism, valor, skill, and service to the United States in conducting the bombings of Tokyo.”
Of the 80 Doolittle Tokyo Raiders who launched on the April 18, 1942, raid, eight were captured, two died in crashes, and 70 returned home.
Of the eight captured Doolittle Tokyo Raiders, three were executed and one died of disease.
As of February 2013, according to the text of the enabling legislation, there were only five surviving members of the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders as of February 2013.
Today, there are only four, all in their 90s — Lt. Col. Robert Hite, Staff Sgt. Robert Thatcher, Lt. Col. Edward Saylor, and the senior member, Lt. Col. Richard Cole.
As a lieutenant, Cole was Lt. Col. James H. “Jimmy” Doolittle’s co-pilot in the lead plane. The crew had to bail out as the aircraft ran out of fuel and eventually crashed. Doolittle, Cole and the remaining three men in the crew were rescued by the Chinese.
On Oct. 14, the CCAC made their recommendations after design review, and two days later, the CFA made their picks. The Doolittle Tokyo Raiders made it known to both panels the proposed designs the association wanted to see on the final medal.
The CFA backed the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders' preferences. The CCAC recommended different obverse and reverse designs.
Simply put, give the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders what they are asking for.
They earned it.
Senior Editor, U.S. Coins