We hope you enjoy the following mission report and images from member Dan Newcomb as much as we did; it succinctly encapsulates the PBJ flight to Alameda on the 75th anniversary of launch of USS Hornet with it’s complement of 16 B25s on the Doolittle raid:
75 years ago the Hornet left the dock with 16 B-25s on her deck. She then anchored in San Francisco Bay for the night and sailed under the Golden Gate the next morning. Our flight commemorated this event. The base has been closed since 1997 and is now, among other things, a nesting ground for birds. Airplanes are not in the old base’s future. We were most certainly the last Mitchell bomber to ever work the pattern. As I watched our shadow racing down the abandoned runways I thought of those other shadows cast so long ago by the Raiders. I thought of the nine Doolittle raider crew members that didn’t make it back and that the last runway they landed on in America was now below me. I imagined the roar of 22 B-25’s flying in from Sacramento of which 16 would be hoisted aboard the carrier. As we flew home out over the Golden Gate that for so many symbolized the great country many would never again see, I wondered if my generation would be the last to truly understand the historical significance of the war and what our parent’s generation endured.
A view of the Golden Gate Bridge from the tail gun position of he PBJ as captured by Thomas VanStein
The following video was shared with us by the Alameda Museum personnel.
Our PBJ enters the video at about the 1 min mark: