Historic Flight To
Attend Final Doolittle Raider Reunion
By Shane Nolan
March 26, 2012 - This April 18th will mark the 70th anniversary of the famous Doolittle Raid on Tokyo in the early days of WWII. In honor of the men and the mission, the five surviving Raiders will come together for one final reunion.
They will be joined by crew of the carrier Hornet from
which they began their heroic mission, as well as by the
Chinese Nationals who rescued them.
This is the first time that the Chinese who played such
a critical role in returning our fliers home will take
part in the traditional Doolittle Raider Reunion. The
event will feature the largest gathering of B-25 bombers
seen since World War II, approximately 25 B-25 aircraft
are expected to attend this last reunion.
Over 25,000 people are expected.
Flight Foundation?s B-25D ?Grumpy? is one of the oldest flying
B-25s in the world and most closely resembles the variant of the
bomber flown by Jimmy Doolittle and his crews.
?Grumpy? will depart from Snohomish County Airport north
of Seattle, WA at 8 a.m. on April 15th carrying a crew of two
pilots and six lucky supporters.
Following the same route used by the Army Air Corps to
deliver aircraft during WWII, ?Grumpy? will make the two-day
journey to Grimes Field in Urbana, OH via Great Falls, MT and
Sioux Falls, SD.
the gathered B-25s will offer rides and tours to the public,
many of whom have never experienced the roar of powerful twin
radial engines and the cramped confines of the flight deck. On
Tuesday April 17th the B-25 fleet will make its way to historic
Wright Field in Dayton, OH, home of the National Museum of the
United States Air Force.
Here the bombers will once again be on static display.
On Wednesday the 18th the entire formation will perform a
fly-by in salute to the surviving Raiders, crew members of the
Hornet, and brave Chinese.
Flight?s ?Grumpy? will begin the journey home after the final
Raider Reunion event on Friday afternoon. A fresh crew of six
lucky supporters will journey west across the country, reliving
the experiences of the ?Greatest Generation.? The B-25 is
expected to return home to Snohomish County Airport Saturday
evening, after flying a total distance of 3,500 miles in less
than a week.
This B-25D is no stranger to long distance flights. After completing restoration in Duxford, England, ?Grumpy? was ferried across the Atlantic Ocean following the lend/lease routes used during WWII to ferry aircraft and supplies to our British allies. The ship then made the cross-country journey through Canada, finally arriving at the Historic Flight Foundation on November 1st, 2009 after a journey of some 5,700 miles.
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