Doolittle, James Harold, 1896-1993

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American aviator and army general; led first aerial attack on Japanese mainland during World War II.

From the description of J. H. Doolittle letter to Mariel Theresa Jones [manuscript], 1950 February 7. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 502157996

Army officer.

From the description of Papers of James Harold Doolittle, 1920-1970. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 71069887

Aviator, Air Force officer.

From the description of Reminiscences of James Harold Doolittle : oral history, 1971. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 122451603

From the description of Reminiscences of James Harold Doolittle : oral history, 1960. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 122620027

James Harold "Jimmy" Doolittle was born in California in 1896. After high school graduation, he attended Los Angeles City College before gaining admission to the University of California, Berkeley. He left Berkeley in 1917 to enlist in the Signal Corps Reserve as a flying cadet and was commissioned in the Reserve Corps in 1918. During World War I, Doolittle remained stateside as a flight instructor in Texas. After the war, Doolittle received a Regular Army commission and in 1922 earned his Bachelor of Arts from Berkeley. Doolittle quickly became famous for many of his pioneering flights, including the first cross-country flight. In 1923, he entered MIT, completed his Master's degree in aeronautics in 1924, and then his doctorate in aeronautics in 1925. He then began to develop the idea of instrument flying and realized that a pilot could be trained to use instruments to fly through all forms of weather and darkness. He resigned his regular commission in February,1930 and a month later was commissioned a Major in the Reserve Corps. During the 1930's Doolittle started working for Shell Oil Company, influenced the first production of high octane aviation fuel, won the Bendix Trophy Race, set the world's high speed record for land planes, and won the "Thompson Trophy" race. Doolittle was recalled to active duty after the attack on Pearl Harbor and promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. He was assigned to help plan the first retaliatory raid on the Japanese homeland and he volunteered to lead the top-secret attack of bombers from the carrier USS Hornet to five different targets in Japan. This became known as the Doolittle Raid and Doolittle received the Medal of Honor from President Roosevelt for planning and leading the raid. Doolittle was quickly promoted to Brigadier General and assigned to North Africa in 1942. He took command of the Mediterranean Theather of Operation in 1943 and continued to fly until 1945. Doolittle returned to Shell Oil as a vice president in 1946, having reverted to inactive reserve status. Doolittle retired from Air Force duty in 1959 but remained active in space technology issues, working as a director for the Space Technology Laboratories and then a director of TRW, Inc. In 1985, Doolittle received his fourth star from President Reagan. Jimmy Doolittle remained active with numerous flight groups and activities until his death in 1992.

From the description of James H. Doolittle collection, 1900-1974. (US Air Force Academy). WorldCat record id: 760089269

Aviator.

From the description of Reminiscences of James Harold Doolittle : oral history, 1973. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 309737409

General James H. Doolittle, U.S.A., was the pilot of the famous Doolittle bombing raid in Tokyo, Japan, in April 1942. As a result, he was made a brigadier general and won the Congressional Medal of Honor. He retired from the Army in 1946.

From the description of Photograph, [n.d.] (Naval War College). WorldCat record id: 45740586

James H. Doolittle was born December 14th, 1896 in Alameda California. Spending time growing up in Alaska and Los Angeles, Doolittle became interested in flying when he attended the Los Angeles Aviation Meet in 1913. Doolittle pursued further education in engineering, as well as meeting Josephine Daniels (often called Jo), who he would marry in 1917. 1918 found Doolittle in the army and undergoing flight training at Rockwell Field near San Diego. Doolittle continued to set a number of speed records with his flying including winning the Schinder Trophy Race in 1925.

In 1929 Doolittle made his first major contribution to aviation by pioneering blind flight of aircraft. Flying a modified Consolidated NY-2 Trainer, Doolittle demonstrated that a plane could take off and land by instruments only, and winning the Guggenheim Prize. In 1929 Doolittle took a job flying for Shell Oil Company, while continuing to set speed records, including winning the 1932 Thompson Trophy in his Gee Bee 1 Racer.

Events of the 1930s caused Doolittle to desire to go back on active duty with the U.S. Army. He was first put in charge of figuring out problems with B-26 Marauder. Then after Japan attacked the United States in 1941, and the US entered the war, Doolittle was put in charge of a special mission. He, along with 80 volunteers, learned to take off in an extremely short distance with a B-25 bomber. The bombers were then loaded onto the USS Hornet and in April of 1942 set off for Japan. The plan was to take off from the carrier, bomb Japan, and then land in China. However the fleet was detected and the decision was made to launch the attack 400 miles early. Because of this the planes were able to hit their targets in Japan, but were forced down short of the landing fields in China. Eventually Doolittle and his surviving men were found by friendly Chinese and returned to allied hands. For his part in the raid Doolittle received the Congressional Medal of Honor from President Franklin Roosevelt.

After the raid Doolittle continued to serve the Army Air Corps in World War II including going on a morale raising tour of defense facilities, serving as the commander of the 12th Air Force in North Africa, the 8th Air Force in Europe, and finally being transferred to the Pacific Theater for the End of World War II. In 1947 Doolittle threw a party for the surviving raiders, and this became the nucleus of the Doolittle Raider's Association and their yearly reunions.

After the war Doolittle retired from the Army and took a job with Mutual of Omaha. He spent a lot of time touring the country giving speeches, and received numerous awards and honors. He also found time to pursue his passion for hunting, including going on Safari in Africa and completing several hunting feats. He also traveled, visiting both the Soviet Union and Antarctica. He remained active in politics, playing a major role in Barry Goldwater's 1964 Presidential Campaign.

Doolittle continued his association with the men who participated in the raid, attending the reunions held by the Doolittle Raider's Association. He also continued to be asked questions about the raid, and his aviation experiences, and provided his expertise to numerous articles, interviews, and television documentaries. In 1991 Doolittle collaborated with C.V. Glines on his autobiography I Could Never Be So Lucky Again. James H. Doolittle passed away on September 27th, 1993 at the age of 96.

From the description of James H. Doolittle papers, 1913-2007 1925-1996. (University of Texas at Dallas). WorldCat record id: 236207841

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
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referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. News of the Day
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. DEEP FREEZE 63lt;*gt; Arrival of GENERAL J.E. DOOLITTLE, USAF RET. and Congressional Party at Harewood International Airport, Christchurch, New Zealand. The distinguished visitors of Operation Deep Freeze are as follows: GEN J.E. DOOLITTLE, USAF, C. HOSMER REP. CALIF., R. TAYLOR, REP. N.C., HOLIFIELD, REP. CALIF., W.R. POAGE, REP. TEXAS, G. PURCELL, REP. TEXAS, C. FISHER, DEP DIR BUDGET OSD
referencedIn Clarkson University. Commencement records, 1898-1986. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn Minneapolis-Saint Paul Metropolitan Airports Commission. Audio-visual materials, 1915-1990s. Minnesota Historical Society Library
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. WAR DEPARTMENT CITATION PRESENTED TO THE 389th BOMBARDMENT GROUP: FOR THEIR FAMOUS MISSION OF AUGUST 1, 1943, TO RUMANIA
referencedIn Cole, Robert E., 1915-. Oral history interview with Robert E. Cole, 2001 August 08. University of North Texas Library, UNT
referencedIn Paramount Pictures, Inc., Collection. 1951 - 1951. Motion Picture Newsreel Films. 10/1941 - 3/1957. PARAMOUNT NEWS [APR. 28]
referencedIn General Records of the Department of the Navy. 1941 - 2004. Moving Images Relating to Military Activities. 1947 - 1980. 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF DOOLITTLE RAID DOOLITTLE RAIDER CRUISE
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. WHO'S WHO IN THE ARMY AIR CORPS
referencedIn Kurzrok, Milton. Letter, 1945. Brigham Young University, Harold B. Lee Library
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. WINGS OF THE ARMY
creatorOf Doolittle, James Harold, 1896-1993. Reminiscences of James Harold Doolittle : oral history, 1973. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Gerald Johnson Papers, 1938 - 1995 University of California, San Diego. Geisel Library. Mandeville Special Collections Library.
referencedIn Barnes, Joseph, 1907-1970. Joseph Barnes papers, 1907-1970, 1923-1970. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Collins, Whit,. Whit Collins photograph collection, 1966. Stanford University, Hoover Institution Library
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. DOOLITTLE RAIDERS CONVENTION
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. corporateBody
associatedWith Arnold, Henry Harley, 1886-1950. person
associatedWith Barker, James M., 1886-1974. person
associatedWith Barnes, Joseph, 1907-1970. person
associatedWith Benham, F. Darius, 1896-1960. person
associatedWith Bower, William, 1917- person
associatedWith Burch, Lt. Colonel, person
associatedWith Clarkson University. corporateBody
associatedWith Cole, Robert E., 1915- person
associatedWith Collins, Whit, person
associatedWith Collins, Whit, collector. person
associatedWith Cooper, William E. person
associatedWith Cradle of Aviation Museum (Garden City, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith Cram, Ralph W., 1869-1952. person
associatedWith Crawford, Frederick C., 1891- person
associatedWith Custer, Levitt Luzern, 1888- person
associatedWith Eaker, Ira, 1896-1987. person
associatedWith Fogelman, Major, person
associatedWith Gallagher, Robert S., person
associatedWith Goldwater, Barry M. (Barry Morris), 1909-1998. person
associatedWith Gregory, Elizabeth Hiatt, b. 1872- person
correspondedWith Guggenheim, Harry Frank, 1890-1971. person
associatedWith Jaynes, Jack B., 1897-1986. person
correspondedWith Johnson, Gerald W. (Gerald Woodrow) person
associatedWith Johnson, Gerald W. (Gerald Woodrow) person
associatedWith Jones, Mariel Theresa, circa 1905- person
associatedWith Kestner, Ima A. Mrs. person
associatedWith King, Ernest Joseph, 1878-1956. person
associatedWith Knobloch, Richard A., 1918-2001. person
associatedWith Kurzrok, Milton. person
associatedWith Larkin, George Elmer, 1918-1942. person
associatedWith Leish, Kenneth W., person
associatedWith Lindbergh, Charles A. (Charles Augustus), 1902-1974. person
associatedWith Mead, James M. (James Michael), b. 1885. person
associatedWith Minneapolis-Saint Paul Metropolitan Airports Commission. corporateBody
associatedWith Mitchell, William, 1879-1936. person
associatedWith Monterey Public Library. California History Room. corporateBody
correspondedWith Mueller, G. E. (George Edwin), 1918- person
associatedWith New York Times Company corporateBody
correspondedWith Patton, George S. (George Smith), 1885-1945. person
associatedWith Shell Oil Corporation. corporateBody
associatedWith Smithers, W. D. person
associatedWith Smithers, W. D. (Wilfred Dudley), 1895-1981. person
associatedWith Smith, James E. person
associatedWith Tate, Captain, person
associatedWith United States. Army Air Forces. corporateBody
associatedWith Veltman, Ronald H. person
associatedWith Williams, James Lawrence Basil. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Tokyo (Japan)
United States
Japan
Japan--Tokyo
United States
Japan
Tokoyo (Japan)
United States
Subject
Airplanes--Speed records
General
Aerospace
World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns
Airplanes--Design and construction
Instrument flying
Aviation
Mitchell (Bomber)
Veterans--Interviews
Aeronautics
Airplane racing
Aeronautics--Competitions
Air pilots--Interviews
Aeronautics, Military
World War, 1939-1945--Aerial operations, American
Postal service
Air pilots--Biography
Air pilots--Military
World War, 1939-1945--Aerial operations
Aeronautics--History--20th century
Bombing, Aerial
Aeronautics--Awards
Occupation
Army officers
Function

Person

Birth 1896-12-14

Death 1993-09-27

English

Information

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Ark ID: w6v123j3

SNAC ID: 25216046