AdvoCare V100 Bowl officials are pleased to announce The Doolittle Raiders as the recipient of the 2013 Omar N. Bradley “Spirit of Independence Award.”
Accepting the award on behalf the Doolittle Raiders will be Lt. Col. Richard E. Cole. Cole, 98, was the co-pilot with Doolittle in the first plane to take off from the USS Hornet.
After the Empire of Japan attacked the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor in 1941, Lt. Col. James “Jimmy” Doolittle led a group of 79 other volunteers on a secret and dangerous
retaliatory mission against the Japanese. The men did not know the details of their mission until they were aboard the U.S. Navy’s aircraft carrier USS Hornet.
The mission of the Doolittle Raiders, also known as the Tokyo Raiders, involved flying 16 U.S. Army B-25B Mitchell bombers off of the USS Hornet in a bombing run aimed at the Japanese mainland.
Because it would be impossible to land the bombers on the aircraft, after the crews dropped their bombs, they were to land in China. However, still 650 nautical miles from Japan, the USS Nashville sunk a Japanese patrol boat, sending warning to Japan that an attack was coming.
Doolittle decided to launch the attack 10 hours and 170 miles ahead of schedule. The Raiders hit their targets in Japan, but lacked the fuel to reach the safe airfields in China. Fifteen of the 16 crews crash-landed or baled out; one landed in the Soviet Union.
Three men drowned crashing into the ocean, while eight were taken captive by the Japanese. Three of the captives were executed, and the other five were imprisoned. Four men survived the imprisonment, but one did not make it through the deplorable conditions.
Despite the fact that the raid did not cause the amount of damage as was hoped, it was still viewed as a success because it proved that the Japanese were not as impervious to attack as once believed. It also boosted the morale of United States’ soldiers and citizens
After the attack on Japan, many of the Doolittle Raiders continued to fight in the war. Twelve of the surviving Raiders were killed in combat.
For their bravery and valor, all 80 Raiders received the Distinguished Flying Cross. The men who were imprisoned were awarded the Purple Heart, two men received the Silver Star and Doolittle earned the Medal of Honor.
After the raid, Cole remained in the China-Burma-India Theater flying combat and transport missions for more than a year. He remained on active duty with the Army until January of 1947. In July of that year, he returned to active duty with the U.S. Air Force, occupying numerous posts across the globe until he retired from the military in 1966.
The “Spirit of Independence Award” has been given out annually at the Independence Bowl since 1977. The first recipient was Gen. Omar N. Bradley, the only living five-star general in the United States at that time. The following year, and until his death, Bradley presented the “Spirit of Independence Award” to his fellow recipients. After his death, the Bradley’s
name was added to the award.
Since the award’s inception, this honor has been bestowed upon outstanding American citizens, or organizations, which symbolize the spirit of freedom and independence on which our country was founded.
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