HQ 8 AF dedicated to WWII leader

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Erin Trower
  • 8th Air Force Public Affairs

Upon the mention of his name, this former Eighth Air Force commander is best remembered for his heroic actions while leading an air combat mission on Tokyo, April 18, 1942, historically known as the Doolittle Raid. 

Gen. James H. “Jimmy” Doolittle, born a California resident in 1896, earned his wings in 1918, and was known as an exceptional pilot. He has many aviation accomplishments under his belt, to include his legendary raid on Tokyo.

In honor of Doolittle, the Headquarters Eighth Air Force building, housed on Barksdale Air Force Base since 1975, was officially renamed ‘General Doolittle Hall’ on Feb. 2, 2017, in alignment with the command’s 75th anniversary events. Distinguished guests, Airmen and community members attended the event to witness the historic naming of the building, which serves as a testament of the actions of this heroic Mighty Eighth Airman.  The official General Doolittle Hall plaque was hung in the Headquarters Eighth Air Force foyer on May 5.

“General Doolittle was selected for his sterling accomplishments as commander of Eighth Air Force,” said Lane Callaway, Eighth Air Force historian. “When coupled with his total military service to the nation and various achievements in advancing military aviation, he embodies the Air Force Core Values.” 

According to Callaway, Doolittle was the last commander of VIII Bomber Command, the command and control headquarters from all bomber groups in Eighth Air Force.  When the VIII Bomber Command was re-designated as Eighth Air Force in early 1944, he became commander for the rest of the air war in Europe.  He again became commander of the Eighth Air Force after it moved from Europe to Okinawa in the Pacific theater of operations. 

“It is fitting to have the memorial bronze plaque of General Doolittle Hall in the main entryway of today’s Eighth Air Force headquarters where those who enter the building can clearly see it at the forefront,” Callaway said. “Just like he was when leading Eighth Air Force to victory over the German Air Force in World War II.” 

Doolittle’s actions during WWII continue on within Eighth Air Force today. The actions of Doolittle, and many other Eighth Air Force veterans, imprinted their legacies on today’s current force, and members of the Mighty Eighth are frequently reminded that they continue to walk amongst the legends who came before them today.

“Within Eighth Air Force, we stand on the shoulders of giants, and follow in the footsteps of those who made significant impacts within our force,” said Maj. Gen. Thomas Bussiere, Eighth Air Force commander. “General Doolittle’s accomplishments demonstrate just a glimpse of what we are capable of within the Mighty Eighth.”