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War Maneuvers Markings (and other tidbits about the Doolittle Raiders)

The men who comprised the Doolittle Raiders were almost exclusively derived from the 17th Bombardment Group of the United States Army Air Force. The 17th BG was chosen for volunteer recruitment after the B-25 was selected as the only aircraft suitable for the mission. The 17th BG had been the first to receive the new aircraft, had the most experience in the type, and with the demanding maneuvers that would be required to fly the mission, it was determined that these were the best group of men for the job.

The various squadrons comprising the 17th Bomb Group were the 34th Bomb Squadron (BS), 37th BS, and the 95th BS, as well as the 89th Recconasiance Squadron - which also flew the B-25 and was attached to, but not directly commanded by the 17th BG.

You may wonder why on earth I have taken the time to write a webpage on the 1941 War Maneuvers. I believe that the War Maneuvers were part of the reason that the 17th Bomb Group was chosen as the group from which the volunteer crews would be selected. In many of the things written about the Raid it is stated that the 17th BG's experience with the B-25 was the primary reason for their crews being selected for the mission. Several of their books also mention experiences during the War Maneuvers, and I believe that this time helped them break in their B-25s and put them in a position of knowing their aircraft fairly well, which would prove valuable during the training for the mission.

In 1941 many of the men who flew the Doolittle Raid against Japan were quite busy. They were part of the 17th Bomb group, which was made up by the 34th, 37th, and 95th Bomb Squadrons. Also attached (but independently commanded) was the 89th Reconnaissance Squadron. The 17th Bomb Group's participation in these war maneuvers is mentioned in several places including Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo and Not As Briefed. I will try to summarize what I can piece together from the information I currently have.

Ronald Macklin, a later member of the 34th Bomb Squadron sent me several tidbits from what he remembered:

"The 17th was sent to Columbia, SC to Lexington County Air Base, The 34th went to Georgia and the 37th and 95th went to Winston Salem. NC. As far as I know they lost no airplanes during these maneuvers. There was a P-40 squadron here and they had serious problems with losses. They figured that maneuvers were not the way to train people and that was the last time that was done This was in the summer of 1941. . The 17th was the first Group to receive B-25's and that was a varied assortment of airplanes. Some had straight wings and some had integral fuel tanks. All had the lower turret which was a disaster. General Doolittle had it removed. Very grateful for that. The B-25 had no tail guns at that time". Also this, "The 34th was at Daniels Field as part of the maneuvers. This was before Pearl Harbor. They being there had nothing to do with Tokyo Raid. Joe Klein was at Daniels Field and I think Hank Potter was there. Hank was in 34th Bomb Squadron until after the Tokyo Raid . As Ted Lawson was in 95th then it is unlikely that he was at Daniels Field. The 95th was at Winston Salem and also the 37th. As you know, about every field in the US claims that the Tokyo Raiders trained there."

"Ross Greening was in the 17th at McCord Field. He is one of few to stay in the 17th until he was captured by the Germans. He was well liked and a  good pilot. He must have been sight seeing as that was a Sunday".



The first two photos are apparently B-25s of the 37th Bomb Squadron which were photographed at



To learn more about the Doolittle Raiders consider the following items:

Last website update:
January 29, 2008

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