Doolittle's Tokyo Raiders
America's First Response to Pearl Harbor
On April 18, 1942, 16 B-25 Mitchell medium bombers launched from the deck of the USS Hornet to attack Japan. Led by Lt. Col. James H. Doolittle, the daring mission was America’s first response to Pearl Harbor and stands as one of the most courageous events of World War II. Although the raid caused minimal damage, American morale soared from the depths to which it had plunged following the Pearl Harbor attack. The surprise attack on the previously untouched home islands of Japan is considered by many historians to be a primary cause of the Japanese decisions that led to their defeat at the Battle of Midway only six weeks later. Planning for the raid was one of the most closely held secrets and the Japanese did not learn how the raid was conducted until after the war was over. Thirteen of the 80 men on the raid were from Texas, more than from any other state.