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Doolittle Raiders - A Final Toast

posted May 2, 2014, 7:42 AM by Ray Schnell

Two of the Doolittle raiders were from Darlington and Florence, SC.  William Farrow (Billy) was one of the three that were shot on crosses by the Japanese after jumping from his plane following running out of fuel.  Farrow Parkway in Myrtle Beach is named for him.  The second just passed away, his name was Tommy Griffin.  Tommy operated the Air and Space museum located at the Florence Regional Airport for many years.  He was also the owner of Griffin Motor co. in Florence. This is interesting as he provided the car that won the very first Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.  My Family and I had the chance to attend the last Doolittle Raider reunion in Columbia SC in 2009. where he was honored along with Bill Hite, Billy Farrows copilot that survived the brutal imprisonment in Shanghai China. 


Darlington is now in the planning process to honor one of it most famous citizens Billy Farrow.  A memorial park is planned with a statue of Billy in his flight gear.  First Baptist Church in Darlington has placed his portrait in its foyer and placed a plaque on the Baptistery where he was baptized  just prior to departing for his last mission.  When Visiting Myrtle Beach's Market Common, stroll thru Valor Park and you will find a plaque honoring Lt. Bill Farrow, Doolittle Raider.  As Paul Harvey said "now you know the rest of the story"


Please share with your kids and Grandchildren.  These men changed the face of World War II when morale was very low in the USA.. Many say this raid replaced our lost pride following the defeat at Pearl Harbor. Without these fearless men, life as you know it may have been very different.


Doug Carter



Their 70th Anniversary Photo
Because of these heroes, and others, we are free today!
God Bless them All....

They once were among the most universally admired and revered men in the United States . There were 80 of the Raiders in April 1942, when they carried out one of the most courageous and heart-stirring military operations in this nation's history.   The mere mention of their unit's name, in those years, would bring tears to the eyes of grateful Americans.

Now only four survive. 

After Japan 's sneak attack on Pearl Harbor , with the United States reeling and wounded, something dramatic was needed to turn the war effort around. 

Even though there were no friendly airfields close enough to Japan for the United States to launch a retaliation, a daring plan was devised. Sixteen B-25's were modified so that they could take off from the deck of an aircraft carrier. This had never before been tried -- sending such big, heavy bombers from a carrier. 

The 16 five-man crews, under the command of Lt. Col. James Doolittle, who himself flew the lead plane off the USS Hornet, knew that they would not be able to return to the carrier. They would have to hit Japan and then hope to make it to China for a safe landing. 

But on the day of the raid, the Japanese military caught wind of the plan. The Raiders were told that they would have to take off from much farther out in the Pacific Ocean than they had counted on. They were told that because of this they would not have enough fuel to make it to safety. 
And those men went anyway.  

They bombed Tokyo , and then flew as far as they could. Four planes crash-landed; 11 more crews bailed out, and three of the Raiders died. Eight more were captured; three were executed.  

Another died of starvation in a Japanese prison camp. One crew made it to Russia .