Meet the Raiders

Meet the Raiders

“The first lesson is that you can’t lose a war if you have command of the air, and you can’t win a war if you haven’t.” —Gen. Jimmy Doolittle

bomber taking off from an aircraft carrier

On April 18, 1942, 80 men and 16 B-25 Mitchell medium bombers set off on what some said was an impossible mission, to change the course of World War II. The actions of these 80 volunteers, led by Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle, were instrumental in shifting momentum in the Pacific theater and setting the stage for victory at the Battle of Midway.

These men, dubbed the Doolittle Raiders, launched 16 B-25s off the flight deck of the USS Hornet. This marked the raid as catalyst to many future innovations in U.S. air superiority from land or sea. That bold, innovative and courageous spirit of the Doolittle Raiders has been the inspiration behind the name of America’s next generation bomber, the B-21 Raider, in development now by the U.S. Air Force and Northrop Grumman.

b-25 bomber in flight

Read more about the Doolittle Raiders

A look back on the Raider legacy after 75 years

B-21 rendering

Learn more about the B-21 Raider

Five pilots standing in front of a plane for a group picture

Meet the Crews:
Crew One

After conducting the raid, the crew bailed out over China and returned home safely.

Pilot: Lt. Col. James Doolittle (1896–1993)
Co-Pilot: Lt. Richard Cole (1915–2019)
Navigator: Lt. H.A. Potter (1918–2002)
Bombardier: Staff Sgt. Fred Braemer (1918–1989)
Engineer Gunner: Staff Sgt. Paul Leonard (1912-1943) ††

Five pilots standing in front of a plane for a group picture

Crew Two

After conducting the raid, the crew survived a crash landing in China and returned home safely.

Pilot: Lt. Travis Hoover (1917–2004)
Co-Pilot: Lt. William Fitzhugh (1915–1981)
Navigator: Lt. Carl Wildner (1915–1994)
Bombardier: Lt. Richard Miller (1916–1943) ††
Engineer Gunner: Staff Sgt. Douglas Radney (1917–1994)

Five pilots standing in front of a plane for a group picture

Crew Three

The crew bailed out over a mountainous hillside in China. One member of the crew, Cpl. Leland Faktor, died after falling down a cliff.

Pilot: Lt. Robert Gray (1919–1942) ††
Co-Pilot: Lt. Jacob Manch (1918–1958) ††
Navigator: Lt. Charles Ozuk (1916–2010)
Bombardier: Sgt. Aden Jones (1920–1983)
Engineer Gunner: Cpl. Leland Faktor (1922–1942)*

Five pilots standing in front of a plane for a group picture

Crew Four

The crew bailed out over China.

Pilot: Lt. Everett Holstrom (1916–2000)
Co-Pilot: Lt. Nevelon Youngblood (1918–1949) ††
Navigator: Lt. Harry McCool (1918–2003)
Bombardier: Sgt. Robert Stephens (1915–1959)
Engineer Gunner: Cpl. Bert Jordan (1919–2001)

Five pilots standing in front of a plane for a group picture

Crew Five

The crew bailed out over China.

Pilot: Capt. David Jones (1913–2008)
Co-Pilot: Lt. Rodney Wilder (1917–1964)
Navigator: Lt. Eugene McGurl (1917–1942) ††
Bombardier: Lt. Denver Truelove (1919–1943) ††
Engineer Gunner: Sgt. Joseph Manske (1921–1998)

Five pilots standing in front of a plane for a group picture

Crew Six

The crew bailed out off the coast of China, resulting in two crewmembers drowning. The remaining three swam to shore, were captured and interred as prisoners of war.

Pilot: Lt. Dean Hallmark (1914–1942) **†
Co-Pilot: Lt. Robert Meder (1917–1943) **†
Navigator: Lt. Chase Nielsen (1917–2007)
Bombardier: Sgt. William Dieter (1912–1942) **
Engineer Gunner: Cpl. Donald Fitzmaurice (1919–1942) **

Five pilots standing in front of a plane for a group picture

Crew Seven

The crew crash landed on the coast of China and survived, but had sustained severe injuries.

Pilot: Lt. Ted Lawson (1917–1992)
Co-Pilot: Lt. Dean Davenport (1918–2000)
Navigator: Lt. Charles McClure (1916–1999)
Bombardier: Lt. Robert Clever (1914–1942) ††
Engineer Gunner: Sgt. David Thatcher (1921–2016)

Five pilots standing in front of a plane for a group picture

Crew Eight

After conducting the raid, the crew landed in Russia where they were interred for more than a year. All returned safely home in 1943.

Pilot: Capt. Edward York (1912–1984) **
Co-Pilot: Lt. Robert Emmens (1914–1992) **
Navigator: Lt. Nolan Herndon (1918–2007) **
Bombardier: Staff Sgt. Theodore Laban (1914–1978) **
Engineer Gunner: Sgt. David Pohl (1921–1999) **

Five pilots standing in front of a plane for a group picture

Crew Nine

The crew bailed out over China.

Pilot: Lt. Harold Watson (1916–1991)
Co-Pilot: Lt. James Parker (1920–1991)
Navigator: Lt. Thomas Griffin (1916–2013)
Bombardier: Sgt. Wayne Bissell (1921–1997)
Engineer Gunner: Sgt. Eldred Von Scott (1907–1978)

Five pilots standing in front of a plane for a group picture

Crew Ten

The crew bailed out over China.

Pilot: Lt. Richard Joyce (1919-1983)
Co-Pilot: Lt. J. Royden Stork (1916-2002)
Navigator Bombardier: Lt. Horace Crouch (1918-2005)
Engineer Gunner: Sgt. George Larkin (1918-1942)††
Gunner: Staff Sgt. Edwin Horton (1916-2008)

Five pilots standing in front of a plane for a group picture

Crew Eleven

The crew bailed out over China.

Pilot: Capt. Charles Greening (1914-1957)
Co-Pilot: Lt. Kenneth Reddy (1920-1942) ††
Navigator: Lt. Frank Kappeler (1914-2010)
Bombardier: Staff Sgt. William Birch (1917-2006)
Engineer Gunner: Sgt. Melvin Gardner (1920-1942) ††

Five pilots standing in front of a plane for a group picture

Crew Twelve

The crew bailed out over China.

Pilot: Lt. William Bower (1917-2011)
Co-Pilot: Lt. Thadd Blanton (1919-1961)
Navigator: Lt. William Pound (1918-1967)
Bombardier: Tech. Sgt. Waldo Bither (1906-1988)
Engineer Gunner: Staff Sgt. Omer Duquette (1916-1942) ††

Five pilots standing in front of a plane for a group picture

Crew Thirteen

The crew bailed out over China.

Pilot: Lt. Edgar McElroy (1912-2003)
Co-Pilot: Lt. Richard Knobloch (1918-2001)
Navigator: Lt. Clayton Campbell (1917-2002)
Bombardier: Sgt. Robert Bourgeois (1917-2001)
Engineer Gunner: Sgt. Adam Williams (1919-1993)

Five pilots standing in front of a plane for a group picture

Crew Fourteen

The crew safely bailed out over China.

Pilot: Maj. John Hilger (1909-1982)
Co-Pilot: Lt. Jack Sims (1919-2007)
Navigator: Lt. James Macia (1916-2009)
Radio Gunner: Staff Sgt. Edwin Bain (1917-1943) ††
Engineer Gunner: Staff Sgt. Jacob Eierman (1913-1994)

Five pilots standing in front of a plane for a group picture

Crew Fifteen

The crew landed in waters off China’s coast and made it safely to Chinese shores in a life raft.

Pilot: Lt. Donald Smith (1918-1942) ††
Co-Pilot: Lt. Griffith Williams (1920-1998)
Navigator Bombardier: Lt. Howard Sessler (1917-2001)
Flight Surgeon: Lt. Thomas White, M.D. (1909-1992)
Engineer Gunner: Sgt. Edward Saylor (1920-2015)

Five pilots standing in front of a plane for a group picture

Crew Sixteen

The crew crash landed near the China coast and were taken Prisoners of War by Japanese Forces.

Pilot: Lt. William Farrow (1918-1942) **†
Co-Pilot: Lt. Robert Hite (1920-2015) **
Navigator: Lt. George Barr (1917-1967) **
Bombardier: Cpl. Jacob DeShazer (1912-2008) **
Engineer Gunner: Sgt. Harold Spatz (1921-1942) **†

Crew photos courtesy of the U.S. Air Force
*Killed-in-Action (KIA) during Doolittle Raid
** Taken Prisoner of War (POW) by Japanese or Soviet forces
† Died or executed while imprisoned by Japanese forces
†† Died as a result of a different military operation