Way more than 30 seconds


Col. Jimmy Doolittle’s Raiders had a famed “Thirty Seconds over Tokyo” in 1942 when his 16 U.S. Army Air Force B-25 medium bombers were carried to within 600 miles of the Japanese Home Islands by the carrier USS Hornet (CV-8). When asked where the bombers came from, FDR laughed to the press and said “Shangra-La,” after the mythical Himalayan city.

Doolittle, who only narrowly avoided Japanese capture and managed to return to the U.S. after a stint on the ground with Chinese forces, would later play up the raid with a recruiting campaign that promised budding pilots a chance to “Fly to Tokyo, all expenses paid.”

Fast forward just 40 months, and everything had come full circle.

SB2C-4 Helldiver bomber on patrol over Tokyo, 28 August 1945, 75 years ago today. Photographed from a USS Shangri-La (CV-38) plane by Lieutenant G. D. Rogers. Note light traffic on…

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