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Medal of Honor Roll Call: James H. Doolittle

The leader of “Doolittle’s Raiders” earned the Medal of Honor when America was still reeling from the shock of Pearl Harbor.

This week’s Medal of Honor hero defines misnomer. As the leader of World War II’s “30 Seconds Over Tokyo” raid, James H. “Jimmy” Doolittle provided some desperately needed good news to the American people, who were buffeted by the attack on Pearl Harbor and losses in North Africa. Before the war, Doolittle was a leading aviator, who set speed records in airplane races across the country. After the war, he was a trusted advisor to presidents Harry S. Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower–as well as a major executive at Shell Oil and TRW Aerospace. No bad for a guy named Doolittle.

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James H. Doolittle

Citation: For conspicuous leadership above the call of duty, involving personal valor and intrepidity at an extreme hazard to life. With the apparent certainty of being forced to land in enemy territory or to perish at sea, Gen. Doolittle personally led a squadron of Army bombers, manned by volunteer crews, in a highly destructive raid on the Japanese mainland.

Written By

Robert J. Laplander is a military historian and the the author of Finding the Lost Battalion and other works. You may see his endeavors at or: