Historic Flight To Attend Final Doolittle Raider Reunion


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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. 

Historic 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. 

At Urbana, 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. 

Historic 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.

Historic Flight Foundation was established in 2003 as ?John T. Sessions Historic Aircraft Foundation? with the intention to collect, restore, and share significant aircraft from the period between the solo Atlantic crossing of Charles Lindbergh and the first test flight of the Boeing 707. Throughout the intervening years, Historic Flight has acquired at least two aircraft annually and engaged the best restoration resources available to return the collection to original splendor.

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