Friday, March 21, 2008

Another Doolittle Raid Vet dies in Salem Oregon

There are only 11 left..... the men that flew in the historic Doolittle Raid on Japan in the early days after Pearl Harbor in World War II. Jacob DeShazer of Salem Oregon died at age 95 on Saturday March 15th, 2008 at his home in Salem Oregon. DeShyazer was captured by the Japanese and spent 40 months of torture and hunger as a prisoner of war. He was released 10 days after the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima.He returned to the Pacific Northwest and went to college and then returned to Japan as a Christian missionary. Last summer I posted the following after the death of another "raider" in Florida

A man who was among the Doolittle Raiders, 80 men who led America's first air raid on Tokyo, conducted April 18, 1942, has died. The raid used B-25 Mitchell bombers launched from an aircraft carrier. The B-25's were land based bombers that many though could not be used on an aircraft Carrier.

Col. Jack A. Sims, a decorated World War II veteran, died Saturday in Naples, Fla., after a long illness. He was 88.

Sims was called ``Kalamazoo's first flying hero'' in the 1940s for being among the pilots who conducted the Tokyo raid under the direction of Gen. Jimmy Doolittle. Exploits of the raiders, who flew many additional missions over Europe during World War II, served as a morale booster for the United States.

Since the war, the raiders have gathered yearly at reunions around the country. Their numbers have dwindled, and at their 65th reunion in April, only seven or eight were present.

Following the raid, the planes flew on to China, some of it occupied by the Japanese, The Japanese were able to capture eight men from two planes' crews. Three of these prisoners of war, Second Lieutenants Dean E. Hallmark and William G. Farrow and Sergeant Harold A. Spatz, were executed at Shanghai by the Japanese government in October 1942. Another, Lieutenant Robert J. Meder, died in prison more than a year later.

The raid did little damage to Japan but was a moral booster for the United States in the days after Pearl Harbor and was a beginning of the pay back for Pearl Harbor and later for the "Bataan Death March" that culminated when the United States dropped the bomb on Hiroshima to end the war.

May we always find such men to defend liberty.