It was the first air strike over Japan. The all-volunteer force was preparing for a highly classified and dangerous mission. When one of the volunteers asked what he would do if his plane was shot down or not likely to return, the mission’s commander replied that he was 45 years old and would not be taken prisoner — instead, he would have his crew and himself bail out of their plane, setting the crashing plane on an enemy’s target. And that’s exactly what happened to the commander, Jimmy Doolittle, in April 1942.
This and other accounts of Jimmy Doolittle’s life are among the subjects covered in his granddaughter’s new book, “Calculated Risk.” Her book is an account of the late Gen. Doolittle, a World War II hero, and his family. The book also sheds light on the late general’s public and private life as well as some of the driving forces that motivated him.
The public is invited to attend a seminar, reception and book signing featuring Jonna Doolittle Hoppes, the author of “Calculated Risk” and granddaughter of the late Gen. Jimmy Doolittle, today from 5-7 p.m. in the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum’s General Lewis E. Lyle Rotunda. Mrs. Hoppes will also be at a book signing Friday from 2-4 p.m. at the Museum Store.
During WWII, Gen. Doolittle led the first air strike over Tokyo and later served as commander of the 12th, 15th and 8th Air Forces. His other accomplishments included being the first pilot to “fly blind” using only instruments and the first to fly cross-country in less than 24 hours.
A resident of Huntington, Calif., Hoppes teaches at the Los Angeles Air Force Base.
To make a reservation for the Thursday reception or for questions please call (912) 748-8888, ext.123 or visit www.mightyeighth.org.