American Grit Stories

James Doolittle: Payback is a B**** 5/5 (1)

One December morning, a day that will forever live in infamy, Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbor. A sucker punch if there ever was one that left over two thousand Americans dead. We needed to hit back. Who would go? Lt. Colonel James Doolittle. The man had already been awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross and was obviously capable.

Planning was set into motion as Doolittle took B-25 bombers and stripped them down as best as he could removing all unnecessary weight. Bombers taking off from an aircraft carrier was not really in the realm of imagination for anyone, except James Doolittle. The men trained and trained and trained for four months. The targets for the bombers included the capital city of Japan. We were going to strike back in the heart of their country. They hit us on our outer perimeter, we’ll hit them right at home.

Four months after the notorious attack on Pearl Harbor, Doolittle led the 16 bombers towards the heartland of Japan. All hit their targets and made their way for their recovery airfields in China. The actual damage done was not significant, however, it proved a point. The point? Japan now knew they were in for a fight and the United States would not just roll over and die. Rather we’d hit back, and hit back hard.

James Doolittle

The actions by Doolittle and his bomber crews forced Japan to reassign fighter squadrons to protect the homeland and remove them from other bases. This action paved the way for the United States to gain important footholds and win decisive victories like the Battle of Midway.

For his actions, planning and executing the raid, James Doolittle was awarded the Medal of Honor and went on to have an extremely successful career in the United States Air Force until he retired in 1959 as a General.

James Doolittle

Be bold, be cunning, think outside of the box, like James Doolittle!


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The Author

John Fannin

John Fannin

John spent four years as a 0351, Infantry Assaulltman in the United States Marine Corps. He deployed twice to the city of Ramadi, Iraq with 3rd Battalion 7th Marines. After leaving the Marine Corps in 2008 John pursued a degree in Kinesiology from Texas Lutheran University. During his time at TLU, John was fortunate enough to play football for a year and serve the local community as a volunteer firefighter. After graduating John worked as a personal trainer for few years before coming to work at American Grit. John is also the proud owner of a great beard.