When my Dad was in 1st grade, my grandfather
worked for an electrical contractor installing runway lights on Eglin Air Force
He says that Pop used to come home from work talking about
this crazy pilot who was always out on Eglin trying to do something strange in
a B-25 Bomber.
Pop said there were lines drawn on the runway, guys with
stopwatches, and some crazy short takeoffs being practiced.
He didn’t know it at the time but he was watching General
Jimmy Doolittle practicing short takeoffs in preparation for what we now know as Doolittle’s Raid
The Raiders practiced bombing with concrete bombs over what
is today Fred Gannon State Park
and at least one of those bombs is still there.
This year marks the 71st
Doolittle’s Raid and the 4 remaining Raiders are celebrating their annual
reunion here in Fort Walton Beach
This will be the last reunion for these men and it seems
fitting for them to celebrate here, where they trained.
Thank you, Raiders
, your sacrifice provided a much needed morale
boost for our country - and for that we will always be grateful.