Honor Flight veterans gathered at the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the daring Doolittle Raid.
Vets who served during World War II helped lay wreaths in honor of the different branches of the military.
Then-Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle of the Army Air Forces planned and led the 80-member raid.
Although the air raid caused little material damage, it provided a boost to American morale and served as a blow to Japan’s confidence, shaking the faith the country had in its leaders.
World War II veteran Ben Loechtenfeldt was serving in the Army Air Corps at the time of the Doolittle Raid.
“I was very thrilled [when it happened],” he said. “It was a big boost for the morale of all the men in the Air Corps.”
Loechtenfeldt attended Tuesday’s ceremony through the Honor Flight Tri-State. The Honor Flight program brings veterans to D.C. to show them their respective memorials.
The Army Air Corps vet said being at the Doolittle Raid ceremony was a wonderful memory.
“It was a great day and great support from the people,” he said.
Navy veteran Ray Roeller served during World War II, but after the famed raid had already occurred.
“I’m so proud that I had served my country,” he said at the commemoration. “And I’m so proud of all these veterans, and all the ones who gave their lives.”
Seven of the 80 crew members in the Doolittle Raid died — three during the mission, and four as prisoners of war.
The B-25 was picked for its range, bomb capacity and short-takeoff distance. The bombers launched from the Navy’s Hornet aircraft carrier without coverage from a fighter escort.
HistoryNet. Fifteen of the planes crashed in China with the crews bailing out unharmed. The last B-25 landed in the Soviet Union.
received the Medal of Honor for his actions in the raid, according to
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