On April 18, 1942, 80 men flying 16 B-25s took off from that aircraft carrier and bombed several cities in Japan, then headed to Chinese airfields. However, the carrier task force was spotted by a Japanese trawler, and the planes had to takeoff 200 miles farther away than planned. This meant the planes used more fuel and could not reach the airfields in China. Some of the planes ditched along the Chinese coast, while others crash landed in the mountains.


The tradition that has yet to happen is the opening of a special bottle of 1896 Hennessy Cognac by the last surviving Raiders (Doolittle was born in 1896). Later this year, the four remaining survivors will open the bottle and have that final toast. Whenever it is, it will be very private.