US Coins

Doolittle Raiders congressional gold medal presentation April 15

Eighty airmen of the US Army Air Forces, led by Lt. Col. James H. "Jimmy" Doolittle, took off April 18, 1942, in B-25 bombers from the flight deck of the USS Hornet enroute to bomb strategic locations in Japan, including Tokyo.

Image courtesy of United States Air Force.

Presentation of the congressional gold medal recognizing the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders of World War II fame is scheduled for April 15 in Emancipation Hall of the Capitol Visitor Center in Washington, D.C.

Just three members of the 80 servicemen who took off in B-25 bombers April 18, 1942, from the flight deck of the USS Hornet headed to bomb Tokyo survive today. They are Lt. Col. Robert Hite, 95; Staff Sgt. David J. Thatcher, 93; and Lt. Col. Richard Cole, 99.

A fourth Raider still living in 2014 as the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee and Commission of Fine Arts reviewed medal design recommendations, Lt. Col. Edward Saylor, passed away Jan. 28, 2015, at age 94.

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 after bombig its target in Japan and eventually crashed in China. Doolittle, Cole, and the other three crew members were rescued by the Chinese.

The approved designs for the medal won't be released to the public until April 15. Bronze 1.5-inch and 3-inch duplicates of the gold medal will be offered for sale to the public by the U.S. Mint.

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