James Harold Doolittle, 0-271885, Lieutenant General, promoted to General in 1985
Pilot Crew 1
Born December 14, 1896, Alameda, California
Died September 27, 1993, Carmel, California
Educated in Nome, Alaska; Los Angeles Junior College and spent a year at the University of California School of Mines. Enlisted as a Flying Cadet in the Signal Corps Reserve on October 6, 1917. Completed flight training and commissioned as second lieutenant on March 11, 1918. Received BA Degree from University of California in 1922, MS from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1924 and his Doctor of Science degree from M.I.T. in 1925.
Flew demonstration and experimental flights in South America in 1926 and 1928 while on leave. In 1928 assisted in the development of blind flying equipment at Mitchell Field, New York and accomplished the first flight completely dependant upon instruments.
Resigning from the Army in 1930, Doolittle was named manager of the Aviation Department of the Shell Oil Company. In 1932, while on temporary active duty, set a world's high speed record for land aircraft. Named President of the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences in 1940.
Recalled to active duty in July, 1940. In September 1942, after the Tokyo Raid, assumed command of the 12th Air Force in North Africa and in March 1943 became commanding general of the 15th Air Force in the Mediterranean Theater. From January 1944 to September 1945 Doolittle commanded the Eighth Air Force.
He returned to the Shell Oil Company as a vice-president and later as a director following the war when he reverted to inactive reserve status. He was Chairman of the Board, Space Technology Laboratories, Redondo Beach, California, until 1962 when he became a consultant.
Doolittle's honors include the Schneider and Mackay Trophies awarded in 1925, the Harmon Trophy in 1930, the Bendix Trophy in 1931, and the Thompson Trophy in 1932.
Doolittle's decorations include the Medal of Honor, Distinguished Flying Service Cross with one Oak leaf Cluster, Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Bronze Star, Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, the Chinese Order of Yung Hui, 3rd Class and eight other foreign decorations.
Jimmy Doolittle had never been a Captain or a Colonel. He resigned his regular commission as a 1st Lieutenant in 1930 and left active duty. He was given Reserve commission as a Major. He was recalled to active duty at his own request in 1940 as a Major. He was a Lieutenant Colonel at the time of the Tokyo Raid. He was promoted to Brigadier General after the raid, skipping the rank of Colonel. He retired as a Lieutenant General, Air Force Reserve - the only Reserve officer to ever retire in that rank. He gave 1/2 of his reserve retired pay to Air Force Aid Society and the other 1/2 to the Air Force Academy Foundation. Doolittle was promoted to full general in 1985 by special act of Congress.
Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington, VA 22211
Section 7A Grave 110
Inducted National Aviation Hall of Fame, San Diego, CA on
December 19, 1967
Original headstone located at the 8th Air Force Museum, Pooler, GA
Town of Doolittle, Mo dedicated October 11, 1946
United Air Lines christened aircraft “The General James H. Doolittle” at
Los Angeles, CA, November 27, 1960
Doolittle Lane named, Redondo Beach, CA on June 29, 1962
Doolittle Plaza, Los Angeles, CA
Here is a collection of images of Jimmy Doolittle and events surrounding his amazing life...
The following images were kindly submitted by George Nolta who is the Nephew of the late Floyd Nolta who went to flying school with and was good friends with Jimmy Doolittle.
Nolta lived in Willows California where some of the Raiders did final secret practice before loading planes on Hornet.
Jimmy and James Nolta Jr. hunting near Willows California.
Hunting trip in Willows California, 1945
From Left: Jimmy, Bill Downs, unknown, Dale Nolta (middle), unknown other two,
The 3 kids are Dale’s children – Gregg, Edward, and Joyce
Hunting in Willows California, 1948
L to R: Bill Downs, Dale Nolta, Jimmy, unknown man
The ladies man, Hunting in Willows California, 1948
L to R: Gretchen Nolta (Dale Nolta’s wife), Jessie Nolta (Floyd Nolta’s wife), and Doolittle. The woman on the right of Jimmy is unidentified, and the woman on the far right is Esther Rees
A B-25 Jimmy flew into Willows California for a hunting trip.
The Jimmy Doolittle G.I. Joe Doll
The following article was found at
James "Jimmy" Doolittle
Engineer/Military Strategist/Record Setter/Test Pilot
Following the Tokyo raid, Doolittle returned to Washington D.C. and was picked up in a staff car by Hap Arnold and Army Chief of Staff George Marshall. As the car headed downtown, Doolittle asked where they were going. The question was greeted with a stare from Marshall and Arnold’s grin. Doolittle broke the silence. “I think there’s something going on that I don’t know about. I’m not a very smart fellow and if it involves me I think somebody had better tell me so they won’t be embarrassed.”
“Jimmy,” Arnold said, “we’re on our way to the White House. The president is going to give you the Medal of Honor.”
In 1922, made the first air crossing of the U.S. in under 24 hours. Then he served on various governmental aviation advisory boards.
Made the first outside loop in 1927.
Made the world’s first totally blind flight on September 24, 1929.
Won the Thompson Trophy in 1932 flying the Gee Bee R-1 at a speed of 296.287 mph saying it was the most dangerous airplane he ever flew. This beat the 1924 record of 278.457 mph held by France's Florentin Bonnet.
Set many speed records and won many important races in the 20s and 30s including the Schneider in 1925 and the Bendix in 1931.
Lead the famous B-25 Tokyo raid in April, 1942 from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet for which he received the Congressional Medal of Honor.
During World War II he commanded the 12th Air Force in North Africa and the 8th Air Force in England from 1944 to 1945.
Enshrined 1967 (to Aviation Hall of Fame)
After winning his wings during World War I, Doolittle flew with the border patrol. He attended the air service mechanical school at Kelly Field, and then entered the engineering school at McCook field, where he later directed experimental flying. In 1922 he made the first transcontinental flight in less than a day's time.
Receiving master and doctor of science degrees in aeronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Doolittle then won the Schneider Cup Seaplane race in 1925 and made the first outside loop in 1927. He pioneered in the science of instrumental "blind flying" in 1929 when he took off, flew a set course, and landed, without seeing the ground. In the 1930's, he flew in the National Air Races, winning the Transport, the Bendix, and the Thompson Trophy races. Returning to active duty in 1940, he helped plan for warplane production. During World War II, he led a flight of carrier-based bombers in a historic raid against Tokyo, for which he received the Congressional Medal of Honor. Afterwards, he commanded and led the 12th, the 15th, and the 8th Air Forces to victory. Retiring as a lieutenant general, he continued to serve the Air Force and the nation and to participate in aerospace developments. For his achievements, he received almost every major aviation honor.
Jimmy Doolittle passed away on September 27, 1993.