A historic B-25 bomber will be soaring over the South Dakota sky at 250 mph in honor of the "Doolittle Raid," as the WWII aircraft will make a scheduled pit stop in Mitchell on April 17.
To recognize the famous Doolittle Raid, which was America's first retaliation to the Japanese after their attack on Pearl Harbor, the South Dakota Air and Space Museum will be flying the WWII plane across the state beginning in Sioux Falls on April 16, while making educational stops on their way to Ellsworth Air Force Base on April 18. The B-25 bomber will arrive at Wright Brothers Aviation at the Mitchell Municipal Airport at approximately 7:30 a.m. on April 17, where the S.D. Air and Space Museum will host a media event from 8 to 9 a.m.
"If you open up a WWII book, you're going to learn a lot about the 'Doolittle Raid,' and the last member of the raid died today," Communications Director of the South Dakota Air and Space Museum John Mollison said Tuesday. "It was an incredible moment of courage."
According to Mollison, the Doolittle Raid was a direct response to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, in which two of the members that took part in the famous raid were South Dakota natives Henry Potter and Don Smith. Mollison said Potter flew with the lead bomber, while Smith was the pilot of the fifteenth bomber.
"We have a tendency to not celebrate our state's heroes like we should here in South Dakota," Mollison said. "This is such an important piece of history, and we are very proud to commemorate these two men and this raid."
Because the raid took place on April 18, 1942, the S.D. Air and Space Museum chose to land at Ellsworth Air Force Base in Box Elder on April 18, where there will be a 77th anniversary for the raid.
"I'm just proud that South Dakota gets to experience this historic event," Mollison said. "We will also be giving out model B-25s to the first teachers we see at our pit stops."