Honoring WWII’s Doolittle Tokyo Raiders

//Honoring WWII’s Doolittle Tokyo Raiders

USS Hornet Museum to Host WWII Veteran from Hornet CV-8 to Commemorate the Jimmy Doolitte Raid

April 16 Living Ship Day to feature a talk by Raid eyewitness and Hornet CV-8 crewmember Richard Nowatzki LCDR USN (Ret)

ALAMEDA, CA — March xx, 2016 — As part of Living Ship Day on Sat., April 16, 2016, the USS Hornet Museum (Hornet) will commemorate the 74rd anniversary of World War II’s infamous Doolittle Tokyo Air Raid (Raid), which was led by Alameda-born Gen. James “Jimmy” Doolittle. Events include a presentation by WWII veteran and former CV-8 crewmember, Richard Nowatzki who, as an eyewitness to the launch of the historic Raid, will share his memories.

The Hornet’s April 16th Living Ship Day will run from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., and will include a big band performance by The Hornet Band from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The USS Hornet Museum is located at 707 W Hornet Ave, Pier 3 in Alameda. Normal admission prices apply. The media and public are invited.

 About Richard Nowatzki LCDR USN (Ret):

Born in Chicago in 1922, Nowatzki was a young seaman fresh out of boot camp when he was assigned to the USS Hornet CV-8 before it was commissioned in October of 1941. His normal battle station was as a sight-setter on a 5-inch anti-aircraft gun at the aft end of the ship. During the Tokyo Raid launch, Nowatzki positioned himself right next to the flight deck and watched as the 16 B-25’s were launched on their one-way mission. He has many fond memories of the Army Air Forces flyers while they were en route across the Pacific to the take-off point. He remained part of the Hornet CV-8 crew until the carrier was sunk in combat in October 1942.

As one of the few living eyewitnesses to the April 18, 1942 launch of Doolittle Raid, Nowatzki will share vivid memories of the Raid and other wartime experiences onboard the Hornet CV-8. His fascinating book about his career, Memoirs of a Navy Major, will also available for purchase and author-autograph during the Living Ship Day event. Nowatzki currently resides in Roseville, CA.

 About the Doolittle Raid:

 On April 18, 1942, 16 Army B-25 Mitchell bombers were launched from the storm-tossed deck of the aircraft carrier USS Hornet CV-8. Each bomber carried a crew of five personnel and had to navigate over 700 miles of ocean to reach Japan. The Raid was led by aviation pioneer and U.S. Army Air Forces Lieutenant Colonel James “Jimmy” Doolittle (who was born in Alameda in 1896).

The joint Army/Navy plan was created as retaliation for the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. Also known as the Tokyo Raid, it was the first air raid to strike the Japanese islands and called for the bombing of industrial and military targets near several cities. All the bombers were eventually lost, as all but one crash-landed in China and one other landed in Russia and was confiscated. Most of the airmen survived the Raid and continued to fight against the Axis enemy.

The Raid demonstrated that Japan was vulnerable to American air attack and provided a huge morale boost to Americans. It also had a direct impact on the course of the war in the Pacific as the Japanese hurriedly attempted to seize the island of Midway and suffered a serious defeat.

“As a special note, California was also the primary State involved with the epic Doolittle Raid,” said Fish.

The Army’s B-25 Mitchell bombers used in the airstrike were manufactured by North American Aviation at the Inglewood plant in 1941. Four of the Doolittle Raiders were born in California, including Jimmy Doolittle who was born in Alameda and spent his high school and early college years in Los Angeles. Frank Kappeler, another Raider, was born and raised in Alameda. The final tune-up of the B-25s was performed in Sacramento and some takeoff tests were done in Willows. The Raid aircraft and crew were loaded aboard the USS Hornet CV-8 at Alameda, sailing west from San Francisco Bay to attack the Japanese home islands in 1942. The successor WWII aircraft carrier, USS Hornet CV-12, is the current “floating museum” in Alameda – and docked at the very spot where the Tokyo Raid originated from.

About Living Ship Day:

 Living Ship Day demonstrations are held onboard the USS Hornet on the third Saturday of most months. On Living Ship Day, the museum comes to life as an operating aircraft carrier, with flight simulations between 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Visitors can meet former crew, sit in the cockpit of a fighter jet, and take in the sights and sounds of naval aviation. Normal museum hours and admission prices apply. Ample free parking is available across from the pier. The USS Hornet Museum is located at 707 W Hornet Ave, Pier 3 in Alameda. For more information, please visit www.uss-hornet.org or call (510) 521-8448.

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About the USS Hornet Museum: The USS Hornet Museum, a popular tourist destination in the San Francisco Bay Area, is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to inspiring people of all ages. Through field trips and live-aboard experiences, the USS Hornet, which opened as a museum in 1998, offers educational programs focusing on naval history, science, and space technology. A registered state and national historic landmark and home of the largest collection of Apollo space mission artifacts on the West Coast, the ship is open to the public daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and permanently berthed at 707 W. Hornet Ave., Pier 3 in Alameda, CA.  Regular museum admission is $10 for youths age 7-17 (age 6 and under are free with paying adult); $15 for students with ID, seniors, and military with ID; and $20 for adults. Admission is free for Museum members. Ample free parking is available across from the pier. The USS Hornet is also a unique, unforgettable venue available for corporate events; trade shows and expos; private parties and big band dances; and TV and film productions. For more information, including group tours and event planning, visit:  www.uss-hornet.org or call (510) 521-8448.

Media contacts:

Heidi Schave, USS Hornet Museum: (510) 521-8448, ext. 224, heidi.schave@uss-hornet.org