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Dr. James Harold Doolittle
Lt. General James Doolittle, head and shoulders.jpg
Lt Gen. James Doolittle
Nickname(s) "Jimmy"
Born (1896-12-14)December 14, 1896
Alameda, California
Died September 27, 1993(1993-09-27) (aged 96)
Pebble Beach, California
Place of burial
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch Flag of the United States Air Force United States Air Force
United States Army Air Forces
United States Army Air Corps
United States Army Air Service
Aviation Section, U.S. Signal Corps
Years of service 1917–1959
Rank US-O10 insignia.svg General
Commands held Twelfth Air Force
Fifteenth Air Force
Eighth Air Force
Battles/wars Mexican Border Service
World War I (Stateside Duty)
World War II
*Pacific Campaign
**Doolittle Raid
*Mediterranean Campaign
*European Campaign
Cold War
*Korean War (Stateside Duty)
Awards Medal of Honor
Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Silver Star
Distinguished Flying Cross (3) Air Medal (4)
Other work Shell Oil, VP, Director
Space Technology Laboratories, Chairman

General/Doctor James Harold "Jimmy" Doolittle, USAF (December 14, 1896 – September 27, 1993) was an American aviation pioneer. Doolittle served as an officer in the United States Army Air Forces during the Second World War. He earned the Medal of Honor for his valor and leadership as commander of the Doolittle Raid while a lieutenant colonel.

Early life and education

Doolittle was born in Alameda, California. He spent his youth in Nome, Alaska where he earned a reputation as a boxer. His parents were Frank Henry Doolittle and Rosa (Rose) Cerenah Shephard. By 1910, Jimmy Doolittle was attending school in Los Angeles. When his school attended the 1910 Los Angeles International Air Meet at Dominguez Field Doolittle saw his first airplane. He attended Los Angeles City College after graduating from Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles. He later won admission to the University of California, Berkeley where he studied in The School of Mines. He was a member of Theta Kappa Nu fraternity. Doolittle took a leave of absence in October 1917 to enlist in the Signal Corps Reserve as a flying cadet. He did his ground training at the University of California School of Military Aeronautics where he later received his doctorate. His flight-training was done at Rockwell Field, California. Doolittle received his Reserve Military Aviator rating. He was commissioned a first lieutenant in the Signal Officers Reserve Corps on March 11, 1918.

Honors and awards

Military honors

Other honors

Doolittle was also awarded the Bolivian Order of the Condor of the Andes, now in the collection of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

In 1972 James H. Doolittle was awarded the Horatio Alger Award which is given to those who are dedicated community leaders who demonstrate individual initiative and a commitment to excellence; as exemplified by remarkable achievements accomplished through honesty, hard work, self-reliance and perseverance over adversity. The Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc. bears the name of the renowned author Horatio Alger, Jr., whose tales of overcoming adversity through unyielding perseverance and basic moral principles captivated the public in the late 19th century.

In April 1985, Doolittle was awarded a fourth star making him a full ranked general. He received the award from President Ronald Reagan and U.S. Senator Barry M. Goldwater.

The Society of Experimental Test Pilots annually presents the James H. Doolittle Award in his memory. The award is for "outstanding accomplishment in technical management or engineering achievement in aerospace technology".

The city of Doolittle, Missouri, located 5 miles west of Rolla was named in his honor after World War II.

In popular culture

  • Spencer Tracy played Doolittle in Mervyn LeRoy's 1944 movie Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo. This portrayal has received much praise.
  • Alec Baldwin played Doolittle in Michael Bay's 2001 movie Pearl Harbor. This portrayal caused much outrage amongst those who knew the general.
  • Bob Clampett's 1946 cartoon Baby Bottleneck briefly portrays a dog named "Jimmy Do-quite-a-little", who invents a failed rocketship.

Related pages


ISBN: 0-88740-737-4

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