CTX connections to the Doolittle Raid celebrated on 75th anniver - KXXV Central Texas News Now

CTX connections to the Doolittle Raid celebrated on 75th anniversary

(Source: KXXV) (Source: KXXV)
(Source: KXXV) (Source: KXXV)

April 18 marks the 75th anniversary of the Doolittle Raid in 1942. 

"Obviously, we focus a lot on Pearl Harbor when we were dealt the blow from the Japanese, but it was the Doolittle Raid that demonstrated not just to other Americans, but to the rest of the world that we were in the fight to win the Pacific," Col. Todd Fox, Garrison Commander of Fort Hood, said.  

Eighty men flew 16 B-25 bombers off an aircraft carrier about 450 miles outside of Japan and dropped bombs to send a message to the Japanese. 

General James Doolittle led the raid and was the first off the USS Hornet.

"We needed desperately to strike at Tokyo so that they would know we could and that we would," James Clawson Jr., cousin of Gen. James Doolittle, said.  

But, it was a dangerous and risky mission as Gen. Doolittle wasn't positive the plane would be flying by the time he ran out of runway. This was the first time medium bombers had taken off from a carrier. 

"When I found out it was General Doolittle, then I realized my kinfolks were doing great things," Clawson added.  

James Clawson is a cousin of General Doolittle who organized and led the Doolittle Raid. Clawson has been so inspired by his cousin's valiant efforts that he chose to follow in his footsteps as a medium bomber pilot, too. 

"But, I never took as great of footsteps as he did," Clawson said.  

Clawson served in World War 2 and the Korean War, and while in training, he was taught about his cousin's risky, but rewarding mission. 

"If Gen. Doolittle's plane had not had flying speed when he went off the end of that flight deck, that would have blown that whole mission," Clawson added. 

But luckily, he did. Clawson said it was because they had God as their co-pilot that day.

"All of them, all 16 of those airplanes to get off the carrier and into the air was, it was nothing short of a miracle," Clawson said. 

Captain Robert Gray of Killeen flew with General Doolittle which is why the City of Killeen chooses to celebrate the miracle's anniversary as Bob Gray Day to honor and remember one of their own.

Tuesday, Killeen Mayor Jose Segarra proclaimed April 18, 2017 as Bob Gray Day. 

"We're honored as a community to be able to say that this is his birth place, this is where he went to school, this is where he grew up," Mayor Segarra said. 

The Doolittle Raiders will forever be remembered because they didn't do a little, they did a lot. 

"It's always been a source of pride to me that my older cousin was the guy that figured out how to do it and did it," Clawson added.

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