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AVIATION PIONEER, HERO GEN. 'JIMMY' DOOLITTLE DIES

 ARLINGTON, Va. Sept. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- The Air Force Association (AFA) lost its first president yesterday, and the country lost one of its greatest aviation pioneers.
 James H. "Jimmy" Doolittle, who died at age 96, was a true national hero. Though best known for the daring April 18, 1942, raid he led on Tokyo during World War II, his remarkable legacy spanned the air and space age.
 On Oct. 6, 1917, the young Doolittle enlisted in the Signal Corps Reserve as a flying cadet. After training and receiving a commission, it did not take the future air commander long to make his mark. In September 1922, he flew a DH-4, equipped with crude navigational instruments, from Pablo Beach, Fla., to San Diego, "an extraordinary achievement with the equipment available at the time," according to the citation that accompanied his Distinguished Flying Cross. That flight "demonstrated the possibility of moving Air Corps units to any portion of the United States in less than 24 hours," the citation added.
 At the same time that Doolittle was demonstrating his prowess as a pilot, he was also pursuing academic goals, graduating in 1922 with a B.A. from the University of California. Entering the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1923 for special engineering courses, he earned a master of science degree in 1924, and, in 1925, became one of the first to earn a doctor of science degree in aeronautics.
 In 1924, in the middle of his academic accomplishments, Doolittle received an Oak Leaf Cluster for his Distinguished Flying Cross by performing a series of acceleration tests and extreme maneuvers that might occur in air combat. In 1925, while serving at the Naval Air Station in Washington, and the Naval Test Board at the Mitchel Field in New York, Doolittle won the Schneider Trophy Race and received the first of a number of trophies he would earn, this one for reaching a speed of 232 mph in a Curtiss Navy racer equipped with pontoons. This feat earned him the MacKay Trophy in 1926.
 After a series of demonstration flights in South America, which he performed with two broken ankles, Doolittle returned to Mitchel Field in September 1928 and worked on the development of fog flying equipment. He was responsible for the development of the first artificial horizontal and directional gyroscopes. During these experiments, he flew the first blind flight, using a hood to take off and land safely by instruments. In 1930, he received the Harmon Trophy for experimental instrument flights. Doolittle biographer C.V. Glines called his work on instrument flying "Doolittle's finest contribution to aviation."
 Early in 1930, Doolittle was named adviser for the Army on building the Floyd Bennett Airport in New York City. He resigned his regular Army commission and accepted a commission in the Officers Reserve Corps. Also in 1930, Doolittle joined the Shell Oil Company as manager of its Aviation Department. In a long association with the company, interrupted periodically by his work with the Army Air Corps and by World War II, he would rise to vice president, 1946-1958, and director, 1946-1967.
 Even as a civilian, he continued to set flying records, winning the Bendix Trophy Race from Burbank, Calif., to Cleveland in 1931, and the
Thompson Trophy Race in 1932 with a speed averaging 252.68 mph. He also set the world's high-speed record for land planes in 1932.
 Between 1932 and 1940, he devoted his energies to promoting the development of 100-octane gasoline and convincing engine manufacturers to build more powerful engines, a feat Glines said contributed to the Allied victory in World War II. In 1940, he became president of the Institute of Aeronautical Science. Doolittle's time with Shell was interrupted on July 1, 1940, when he returned to active duty to work with large automobile manufacturing concerns on the conversion of automobile plants to airplane parts manufacturing plants.
 In January 1942, he was assigned to headquarters, Army Air Forces, in Washington, and promoted from major to lieutenant colonel. A few months later, he would lead a squadron of B-25 bombers on a raid of the Japanese mainland that gave a precious boost to the United States and allied morale and shattered the Japanese high command's sense of invulnerability. The B-25s were launched from the deck of an aircraft carrier, another incredible feat.
 Following this mission, he was awarded the nation's highest award, the Medal of Honor, which was presented by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in a White House ceremony attended by Gen. Henry H. "Hap" Arnold and Gen. George C. Marshall. The citation read, "For conspicuous leadership above and beyond the call of duty, involving personal valor and intrepidity at an extreme hazard to life. With the apparent certainty of being forced to land in enemy territory or to perish at sea, Colonel Doolittle personally led a squadron of Army bombers, manned by volunteer crews, in a highly destructive raid on the Japanese mainland."
 Doolittle was also promoted to brigadier general, skipping the rank of full colonel. He went on to serve first in the 8th Air Force and then to command the 12th Air Force. He was promoted to major general in November 1942. In March 1943, he was named commanding general of North African Strategic Air Forces. That November, he took command of the 15th Air Force. A few months later, in January 1944, he shifted his talents to the 8th Air Force in the European Theater and was promoted to lieutenant general. One of his critical decisions as commanding general of the 8th Air Force was the shift to more offensive tactics.
 Doolittle was highly decorated for his efforts in World War II, including the Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star, the Air Medal and recognition from the Chinese and French governments.
 In 1985, Doolittle was promoted to four-star general. His stars were pinned on by President Ronald Reagan and Sen. Barry Goldwater (R- Ariz.).
 Following the war, he rejoined Shell as vice president and director. Shortly thereafter, he helped found and organize the Air Force Association, becoming its first president in 1946. A little over a year later at AFA's first national convention, Doolittle was able to report that membership had risen to over 126,000. He guided AFA through its first year when the focus was on educating the American public about the need for a separate and co-equal autonomous Air Force, a goal that was realized on Sept. 18, 1947.
 In his convention report, he stated: "We want a healthy aviation industry, but, ladies and gentlemen, our aviation industry today is not healthy. It is on its last legs, and many of the aircraft manufacturers will go out of existence within the next few months unless they get work to do. So, we have got an Air Force that is too small, and we have an industry that is dying. It does not seem to me that it takes much brains to realize that the solution to the thing is to have a bigger Air Force and give the aircraft industry the job of building the airplanes. That we must fight for." AFA has continued to explain the important role air power plays in the nation's defense and to promote a strong national security posture.
 During his tenure with Shell, he also served as a special assistant to the Air Force chief of staff in 1951. He served as chairman of the board and director of Space Technology Laboratories, Inc., from 1959- 1962, and was a trustee and chairman of the Executive Committee for Aerospace Corporation from 1965-1969.
 Beginning in 1961, he served on the board of directors of TRW, Inc., and the Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company. He retired from Shell in 1967. He has received honorary degrees from eight colleges and universities.
 The general is survived by his son, John. His wife, Josephine, whom he married in 1917, died in 1988. His other son James also died. Funeral services will be held Friday, Oct. 1, at 2 p.m. in the Fort Myer Memorial Chapel with burial following at Arlington National Cemetery.
 The Air Force Association is an independent non-profit aerospace organization whose objective is to promote greater understanding of aerospace and national defense issues. Among the ways AFA disseminates information are publication of Air Force Magazine, sponsorship of a series of national symposia and through educational outreach programs of its affiliate, the Aerospace Education Foundation. AFA is a grassroots organization with a membership of nearly 190,000. The Air Force Association was incorporated in the District of Columbia on Feb. 6, 1946.
 -0- 9/28/93
 /CONTACT: Jack Giese of the Air Force Association, 703-247-5843/


CO: Air Force Association ST: Virginia IN: ARO SU:

DT -- DC019A -- 6480 09/28/93 15:30 EDT
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Date:Sep 28, 1993
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