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Congress moves to honor famed World War II aircrew

Doolittle Raiders conducted bombings of Tokyo during World War II

May. 19, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
Richard Cole, center, proposes a toast Nov. 9 with two other surviving members of the 1942 Tokyo raid led by Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle — Edward Saylor, left, and David Thatcher — at the National Museum for the U.S. Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.
Richard Cole, center, proposes a toast Nov. 9 with two other surviving members of the 1942 Tokyo raid led by Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle — Edward Saylor, left, and David Thatcher — at the National Museum for the U.S. Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. (Al Behrman / AP)
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The House is expected to pass a bill Monday night honoring some of the nation’s most distinguished and revered military aviators.

The legislation would bestow the Congressional Gold Medal on members of the famed Doolittle Raiders for their “outstanding heroism, valor, skill and service to the United States in conducting the bombings of Tokyo” during World War II.

Rep. Pete Olson, R-Texas, is backing the bill, HR 1209, along with 309 co-sponsors in the House.

A Senate version of the bill, S.381, passed in November. It had broad support there also, with 78 co-sponsors, according to a release from Sen. Sherrod Brown’s office. Brown, D-Ohio, led the effort along with Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark.

Brown also will meet Wednesday with retired Lt. Col. Richard E. Cole, one of four remaining members of the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders.

The remaining Raiders honored one another with a final toast Nov. 9 at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. The Raiders paid homage to their late commander, Gen. James “Jimmy” Doolittle, and the 80 men who risked their lives during a World War II bombing mission on Japan, prompted by the attack on Pearl Harbor four months earlier.

The Congressional Gold Medal is the nation’s highest honor for distinguished achievements.

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