Lt. Col. Robert L. Hite, 95, died March 29 at a
Nashville nursing home, leaving the number of surviving Doolittle
Tokyo Raiders at just two.
was a co-pilot of Crew No. 16 and one of four Doolittle Tokyo Raiders
who made it home after imprisonment in a Japanese prisoner of war
camp. Hite spent 40 months in captivity.
surviving members are Lt. Col. Richard E. Cole, 99, co-pilot to Lt. Col. James H. "Jimmy" Doolittle in
the lead plane, and Staff Sgt. David J. Thatcher, 93,
engineer-gunner on Crew No. 7.
death comes two weeks before the congressional leadership is to
present a congressional gold medal April 15 recognizing the heroic
efforts of the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders. There were 80 Raiders split
into five-man crews that took off in 16 B-25 medium bombers from the
flight deck of the USS Hornet on what was billed as a
suicide mission to bomb the Japanese capital of Tokyo.
April 18, 2015, the 73rd anniversary of the
mission, the congressional gold medal is to be flown aboard a B-25
from Andrews Air Force Base for presentation to the National Musum of the U.S. Air Force at
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, where it will
formally join a public exhibit on the Raiders and their missions.
will be able to purchase 1.5-inch and 3-inch bronze duplicates of the
gold medal. The obverse and reverse designs of the medal won't be
publicized until the April 15 medal presentation ceremony in
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