To coincide with 50th-anniversary commemorations of World War II that were held from 1992-1995, the USS Ranger re-enactment of the Doolittle Raid, this was a raid on Tokyo, Japan. This re-enactment took place on April 21, 1992, with some 1,500 guests in attendance. Among those guests were military veterans as well as Raiders.
The event was produced by Bradly Grose, who had proposed the idea of the re-enactment in 1989. With the assistance of Task Force 16 member Vice-Admiral William Houser, the idea started advancing at the Pentagon. The Department of Defense (DOD) WWII 50th Anniversary Commemorative Committee Head Gen. Mick Kicklighter supported the idea of a re-enactment.
It wasn’t until January 1992 when Grose was notified that the DOD had approved the concept of a re-enactment. At that point, the Naval Air Force U.S. Pacific Fleet, which was located at NAS North Island in San Diego was given the assignment. Pentagon JAG officers were flown to the station to mark the runways in 50-foot increments. In order for the re-enactment to occur, World War II-era North American B-25 bombers had to take off in less than 500 feet.
The four B-25s that were used were Executive Suite, Pacific Princess, In the Mood, and Heavenly Body. Of those four, two planes were selected to be craned onboard the Ranger for the event. The team had three months to organize the re-enactment, which was close to the same amount of time that the original team had to organize the actual raid.
A view of four restored B-25 Mitchell bombers parked by the hangar. The bombers are at North Island to practice a re-enactment of the April 18, 1942, raid of B-25s, the “Doolittle Raiders” [Via]
Aviation Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Dawn M. DeVerna directs a restored B-25 Mitchell bomber to a parking spot on the air field. [Via]
Navy CAPT Dennis McGinn, commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS RANGER (CV-61), checks out the cockpit of a restored B-25 Mitchell bomber. [Via]
Three restored B-25 Mitchell bombers await takeoff clearance as they practice for a re-enactment of the April 18, 1942, raid of B-25s, the”Doolittle Raiders, [Via]
USS Ranger catapult officer practices launch with restored B-25 prior to Doolittle Raid reenactment [Via]
Next page: Preparation
The restored B-25 Mitchell bomber “Heavenly Body” is towed to a pier, where it will be lifted by crane aboard the aircraft carrier USS RANGER (CV-61) [Via]
A crane sets the restored B-25 Mitchell bomber “Heavenly Body” on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS RANGER (CV-61). [Via]
A crane sets the restored B-25 Mitchell bomber “in the mood” on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS RANGER (CV-61) [Via]
April 21, 1992: A B-25 Mitchell bomber prepares to take off from the USS Ranger CV-61 during a reenactment of the April 18, 1942 Doolittle Raid on Japan. [Via]
“Heavenly Body” and “In The Mood” on the flight deck of the USS Ranger [Via]
Next page: Takeoff!
The restored World War II B-25 Mitchell bomber aircraft Heavenly Body and In The Mood stand ready on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Ranger (CV-61). [Via]
The flight deck Leading PETTY Officer (LPO) on the aircraft carrier USS RANGER (CV-61) communicates with the co-pilot of the restored World War II B-25 Mitchell bomber aircraft “Heavenly Body” as the launch officer looks on. [Via]
Heavenly Body getting the signal to take off [Via]
The restored World War II B-25 Mitchell bomber Heavenly Body takes off as In The Mood, another B-25, stands in the background on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Ranger (CV-61) [Via]
Heavenly Body lifts off! [Via]
“In the Mood” getting ready for takeoff [Via]
“In the Mood” liftoff! [Via]
Four restored World War II aircraft fly overhead after two B-25 Mitchell bomber aircraft were launched from the aircraft carrier USS RANGER (CV-61) off the coast of California [Via]