The 70th Doolittle Tokyo Raiders Reunion was held at the National Museum of the USAF in Dayton, OH, from April 17 through April 20, 2012.
The Doolittle Tokyo Raid was the first air raid by the United States to strike the Japanese Home Islands during World War II. It is also regarded as one the best examples of the cooperation between Chinese and American people in the war against fascism. After completing the raid on April 18, 1942, the Doolittle Raiders failed to land at Quzhou Airport as planned and had to crash land or parachute in Zhejiang, Jiangxi and neighboring provinces in eastern China. Sixty four out of 80 raiders were saved and rescued by Chinese soldiers and civilians who helped them return to the US safely. The Chinese people paid dearly for sheltering the American aviators. Approximately 250,000 Chinese civilians were killed by the Japanese Army in retaliation for assisting the American raiders.
The Reunion features various programs, including exhibition, memorial service, B-25 Flyover, etc. Some of them were open to the public and had drawn thousands of participants. Four surviving Doolittle raiders, families of Doolittle Raidiers, relatives of Chinese civilians who helped Doolittle Raiders and representatives from US air force and navy were invited to the event.
Counselor Zha Liyou from the Chinese Embassy attended the Reunion and delivered a special message from Ambassador Zhang Yesui at the Reunion Dinner. In his message, Ambassador Zhang pays his tribute to the surviving raiders and all relatives of Doolittle Raiders, and recalls the history of friendship when China and the United States fought side by side for the common cause of world peace and justice in World War II. He also expresses his hope that in the new era, the Chinese and American people will continue to join hands to further strengthen the traditional friendship, create a better future for both countries and contribute to world peace and prosperity.
Photo caption:1.Four surviving Doolittle raiders: Richard E. Cole, David J. Thatcher, Thomas C. Griffin and Edward J. Saylor. (from left to right).
2.He Shaoying from east China's Zhejiang Province, whose father He Yangling helped out some raiders, talks to Doolittle raider Thomas C. Griffin.