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Jimmy Doolittle

James Harold Doolittle (December 14, 1896 - September 27, 1993) was a United States Army general who fought in World War I and World War II, and was the commander of the famous Doolittle Raid.

He was born in Alameda, California and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 1922.

During World War I he was not a member of the Lafayette Escadrille as some historians write. A hapless namesake who served briefly in the famous Lafayette Escadrille suffered several mishaps and left the service.

He is most famous for organizing and leading (as a colonel) the so-called Doolittle Raid in 1942 which was a daring carrier-based bombing run against mainland Japan following the American defeat at the Battle of Pearl Harbor. The bombers didn't have enough fuel to return home and most were forced to ditch in China.

Doolittle was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for accomplishing this mission, which is viewed by historians as a major public-relations victory for the United States. Although the amount of damage done to Japanese war industry was minor and quickly fixed, the raid showed the Japanese their homeland was not invulnerable, and forced them to withdraw several frontline fighter units for homeland defense. President Franklin D. Roosevelt presented the medal to Doolittle.

Doolittle was also a legendary airplane pilot who performed many daredevil tricks, all of which had mixed results but none of which were fatal.

Doolittle died in California and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

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