Almanac: April » Almanac: April 02

Almanac: April
01 03


The USS Hornet sails from San Francisco Bay carrying a squadron of new twin-engined B-25B Mitchell medium bombers. The squadron’s commander, Lt. Col. James Doolittle, would lead the planes on an audacious bid to boost morale by bombing Tokyo. The big problem? The bombers hand to land at an airfield after the raid. On April 18, the squadron took off from the deck of the Hornet bound for the main island of Japan. They left earlier than planned because the carrier group had been spotted by a Japanese picket boat. After a brief but successful bombing run against almost no resistance, the planes were supposed to land in China. A communication failure led to most of the planes being ditched. Most of the crew members were rescued, but several died and eight were captured by the Japanese. [Sources: Embattled Dreams: California in War and Peach 1940 to 1950 by Kevin Starr, and The National Interest.]