The House of Representatives and Senate passed a measure that would bestow The Congressional Gold Medal on the famed Doolittle Tokyo Raiders for their "outstanding heroism, valor, skill and service to the United States in conducting the bombings of Tokyo."
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Gate to Destiny
The Doolittle Raiders, led by Army Air Forces Lt. Col. James Doolittle, took off from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet in 16 B-25 bombers on April 18, 1942, to attack military targets in Tokyo and other cities. The raid was prompted by the attack on Pearl Harbor four months earlier
"This Congressional Gold Medal was hard earned and long overdue for a group of heroes who literally turned the tide for America in the Pacific Theater of World War II," Rep. Pete Olson, R-Texas, who sponsored the bill in the House, said in a statement to Air Force Times. "I'm proud to have carried the mantle to see these men receive the honor they so richly deserve."
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Brian Anderson, the sergeant at arms for the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders, and his wife, Cyndee, started knocking on doors on Capitol Hill two years ago looking for congressional support for the award. They visited all 100 Senate offices and 435 House offices. At the time, five Doolittle Raiders were still alive.
"Time wasn't exactly on my side," Anderson said Tuesday.
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Griffin died Feb. 26, 2013, the same day Brown and Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., introduced the bill in the Senate.
"The Doolittle Raiders symbolize the courage and valor of so many who fought for this country," Brown said in an interview with Air Force Times. "This historical incident is important to me, and to this country." With four Doolittle Raiders surviving, "time is of the essence," Anderson said.
Once President Barack Obama signs the bill, a design of the medal will be sent to the U.S. Mint, said Anderson, who would not disclose the design or its artist.
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For Anderson, who was in the gallery for the House vote Monday night, the two-year effort represents a lifelong interest in the Raiders, sparked by a book report assignment on the Tokyo raid.
"They should be everybody's heroes, and this is their legacy," Anderson said. "When anyone looks up the Congressional Gold Medal, people should see that the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders' names will be associated with that medal."
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