On April 18th, 1942, James H. Doolittle planned and led the first air attack on Japanese after they attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor. This was the most daring operations by the United States in the young Pacific war at this time and was known as the Doolittle Raid. The attack was launched from the aircraft carrier Hornet. Doolittle wired a Japanese piece medal he had received prior to the war to the first 500 pound bomb to be dropped on Tokyo. In order for the over loaded planes to take off, the carrier had to run at full speed.
The Hornet could hold sixteen planes and it was nearly impossible for the raiders to land back on the aircraft carrier after the bombing so they were forced to land in China. On the day of the bombing, the 16 bombers took off 150 miles short of their planned takeoff. After about four hours, the raiders reached Japan and bombed targets in Tokyo, Yokohama, Kobe, and Nagoya. Many of the planes landed with great success, a few did not make it and landed in the sea. After the air raid, Doolittle met up with the other survivors and traveled through Japanese lines being aided by Chinese guerillas.
Several of his men were killed and captured by Japanese soldiers. The Raid caused a lot of damage to Japanese factories and ships. Doolittle became a hero which fueled American moral. Roosevelt awarded Doolittle the Congressional Medal of Honor. Doolittle’s actions energized America and promoted the support to the war effort. The Japanese were embarrassed by the attack and changed their strategies to protect themselves from future assaults. This battle is often said to be the turning point in the war of the Pacific.