Doolittle's raiders see parallels to Pearl Harbor

Country is galvanizing

strong reply warranted

Terrorism Strikes America

September 16, 2001|By KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE

COLUMBIA, S.C. - After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, America retaliated by sending 16 B-25s to bomb Tokyo. The bombers took off from the deck of an aircraft carrier - a military first.

Today, the surviving heroes of Gen. Jimmy Doolittle's raid say America should react to the attacks on New York and Washington with equal ferocity and imagination.

"We should lower the boom, that's for sure," said Horace "Sally" Crouch of Columbia, a navigator and bombardier in the raid. "And we should fight to win."

Richard E. "Dick" Cole of Comfort, Texas, was Doolittle's co-pilot in the raid. He said Pearl Harbor "galvanized" the country, and "I see that happening today."

But Cole, 86, said the country's outrage over Tuesday's attacks might be more profound than the reaction immediately after Pearl Harbor.

"It's more prevalent now because people watched the attack happen," Cole said. "People learned about Pearl Harbor by radio. They couldn't imagine the havoc and pain that went along with it."

The raiders all volunteered for the April 1942 raid on Japan. The strike was considered a suicide mission, and many of the fliers didn't return.

Doolittle's raid was more of a public relations success than it was a military one. The strikes on Tokyo, Yokohama and other cities were a huge blow to Japanese morale and a lift to the Americans' fighting spirit.

"We proved we could fight back," said C.V. Glines, a World War II flier who became the raiders' official historian.

Glines has written three books on the raid and co-wrote Doolittle's autobiography.

The Dallas resident said he doubted any response to Tuesday's attacks would match the immediate impact of Doolittle's raid on national morale: "We want to take somebody to task, but we don't know who."

Cole said the response to the attacks on New York and Washington should be equally quick and more powerful. "We need to let the world know that anybody who harbors these people should turn them over immediately or we're coming after them," he said. "If you don't look at it that way, it's sure to happen again."

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