Fort Walton Beach, FL (PRWEB) January 25, 2013
The Doolittle Raiders return to Fort Walton Beach, Florida April 17th-20th to celebrate their 71st Anniversary Reunion and homecoming to Eglin Air Force Base (AFB), where the planning for the bombing of Japan first began.
Of the original 80 Raiders, four of five surviving anticipate attending this year’s ceremonies, the youngest being an estimated 90 years old.
Doolittle Raider Lieutenant Colonel Richard (Dick) Cole briefly describes the attack, “We were doing our jobs, helping our Country win the war,” says Cole. For Lt. Col. Cole’s full video and invitation to this year’s celebration, please click on the link here.
This year’s celebration kicks off on Wednesday, April 17th, with a dedication of the Doolittle Raider Museum at Northwest Florida State College, followed by a press conference and public print signings at the Air Force Armament Museum.
On Thursday, April 18th, there will be a luncheon featuring the Raiders and their families, and an autograph signing with the Doolittle Raiders at the Northwest Florida Fairgrounds in “The Mess Hall.” The “Meet the Heroes” ticket package for this event will be $60 per person and includes the “Payback” signature print, preferred seating and an opportunity to meet the Raiders. General admission tickets will be available for $35.
Friday, April 19th, will include a private, complimentary luncheon for World War II veterans and the Doolittle Raiders, followed by a public autograph signing session at the Air Force Armament Museum. Veterans and a guest will receive their free tickets by calling the Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce at 850-244-8191. The evening concludes at 6pm with Thirty Seconds over the Emerald Coast- A Salute to the Doolittle Raiders Flyby, which can be viewed from any beachfront location on Okaloosa Island.
Saturday, April 20th, will peak the 71st Anniversary Reunion festivities with a public “Parade of Heroes” to be held in Fort Walton Beach. The Doolittle Raiders will serve as Grand Marshalls, leading veterans of all United States wars from WWII to the present war in Afghanistan, followed by active duty military personnel. The evening will conclude with a Victory Celebration Banquet at the Northwest Florida Fairgrounds with guest speaker, United States Air Force Chief of Staff and Four Star General, Mark Anthony Welsh III. The evening will include a dedication of a full scholarship to Northwest Florida State College (whose mascot is the “Raiders”) in the name of the Doolittle Raiders and a donation to the Fisher House of Eglin A.F.B.
Tickets start at $35 for the lunch events and $50 for the banquet. Please note for both Friday’s luncheon and Saturday’s banquet, both autographed and un-autographed books and prints will be available for purchase. There will be limited autograph signings at Friday’s lunch and none during Saturday evening’s banquet.
Ticket sales will begin on February 6, 2013. To purchase tickets, please contact the Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce at 850.244.8191.
For a special Doolittle Raiders lodging rate, please contact ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals at (800) 380-4808 or email NWFres(at)resortquest(dot)com.
To be a part of the press conference, please contact Nicole Scott at Nicole(at)ScottSocialPR(dot)com.
For additional information on the reunion, please visit the Doolittle Raiders Reunion website at http://www.DoolittleReunion.com. A special thank you to Beach Community Bank and ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals for their sponsorship of the Doolittle Raiders’ 2013 events.
The Mission of the Doolittle Raiders
In the tense atmosphere after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, President Roosevelt sought a way to strike back at the heart of Japan. He wanted a daring air assault that would boost American morale and prove that the United States was capable of retaliation for the unprovoked attack on the Honolulu naval base.
In January 1942, Lt. Col. James Doolittle and his 79 volunteer Raiders began their training in Eglin Field. By April, they were anxious to begin their raid on Tokyo. Sixteen under fueled planes took off from the USS Hornet on April 18, 1942, headed toward their Japanese objectives, dropping dozens of bombs on sensitive targets. Virtually all of the planes crash-landed following the raid; several of the Raiders were killed, and the Japanese imprisoned others. Their daring exploits brought great honor to the Air Force and boosted U.S. morale at a critical time. The subsequent book and film, “Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo” tell their story, and they are considered some of WWII’s greatest heroes.