Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Doolittle Raider: David J. Thatcher

President of Jardur Watches CC Shermer and David Thatcher


After designing this leather motorcycle/bomber jacket for myself, I couldn't think of a better person to have sign the back of it than Staff Sergeant David J. Thatcher of the Doolittle Raiders...Engineer-Gunner from Crew 7.


David Thatcher is only one of 4 Doolittle Raiders left.

I am in awe of this man.

The Doolittle Tokyo Raiders was a group eighty men from all walks of life who flew into history on April 18, 1942. They were all volunteers and this was a very dangerous mission. Sixteen B-25 bombers took off from the deck of the USS Hornet, led by (then Col.) Jimmy Doolittle. They were to fly over Japan, drop their bombs and fly on to land in a part of China that was still free. Of course, things do not always go as planned. 

The months following the attack on Pearl Harbor were the darkest of the war, as Imperial Japanese forces rapidly extended their reach across the Pacific. Our military was caught off guard, forced to retreat, and losing many men in the fall of the Philippines, leading to the infamous Bataan Death March.
By spring, 1942, America needed a severe morale boost. The raid on Tokyo on April 18, 1942, certainly provided that – cheering the American military and public. Yet, the Doolittle Raid meant so much more, proving to the Japanese high command that their home islands were not invulnerable to American attacks and causing them to shift vital resources to their defense. Two months later that decision would play a role in the outcome of the Battle of Midway, the American victory that would begin to turn the tide in the Pacific War.

David J. Thatcher, 19019573, Staff Sergeant
Engineer-Gunner Crew 7
Completed High School and enlisted in military service, December 3, 1940.  Completed Airplane and Engine Mechanic Course, Lincoln, Nebraska, December, 1941.  After Tokyo Raid, served in England and Africa until January, 1944.  Discharged from active duty in July, 1945 after Stateside assignments in California.  Decorations include Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Chinese Army, Navy, and Air Corps Medal, Class A, 1st Grade.
Born July 31, 1921, Bridger, Montana

General Jimmy Doolittle's Jardur Bezelmeter (circa 1942)
Engraved on the caseback:
"To Jimmie Doolittle and Shangri-La from Dutch 6-1-1942"

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