Historic Markers Across Florida

Doolittle Raiders

Marker ID:  
Location: Near Test Area C-72 on CR 280W(Bob Sikes Rd) east of FL 285
County: Walton
Coordinates: N 30° 39.271    W 086° 10.477
  30.65451666    -86.17461666
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WMNVMP


The Dolittle Raid, US Army Special Mission No. 1 of World War II, was a daring one-way mission of 16 B-25 Mitchell medium bombers with 80 aircrew, commanded by Lt Col James "Jimmy" Doolittle, to carry out America's first offensive attack on Japan.

From Mar 9-25, 1942, the Raiders, assisted by Naval Air Station Pensacola, secretly trained at Eglin Main and Wagner Field. Eglin Aux Field No. 1. Personnel at Eglin Field also made extensive modifications to the aircraft.

On April 18, 1942, Doolittle's B-25s took off from the USS Hornet for their long overwater flight to Japan. After the attack, the Japanese captured eight crew members and executed three as war criminals. One died in captivity from sickness. In retaliation for aiding 65 Raiders to safety, the Japanese Army executed up to 250,000 Chinese. The Soviet Union interned one five-man crew after they landed their B-25 in Soviet territory.

The Raid had little tactical impact, but it did significantly raise American morale in the dark days of early 1942 and led directly to the strategic American victory at the Battle of Midway, June 5-7, 1942. It also foreshadowed the Strategic Bombing Campaign of Japan, 1944-45.