In April, 1942, Americans were still frightened by the Japanese sneak-attack on Pearl Harbor. Everyone needed a morale boost. That's when 80 brave men from 35 states, including one physician, Dr. Thomas White, volunteered for a "dangerous secret mission." They didn't know why 16 twin-engine bombers were being loaded onto the USS Hornet. Land-based bombers had never taken off from a carrier's short flight deck, and could not land on one. Once at sea, the volunteers learned that, led by Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle, they would bomb Tokyo and then continue west to bail out over free China. Each plane was modified to hold 1,141 gallons of fuel -- enough to reach Tokyo, but probably not enough to reach China's safe zones. This was American heroism at its best.
The raid was successful and Americans at home regained hope. Most crews ditched their bombers and bailed out over free China. But heroes were still needed. After bailing out of his plane, Dr. White saved the life of Lt. Ted Lawson by amputating Lawson's crushed leg and donating his own blood by transfusion.
Eight flyers in the Tokyo raid were captured by the Japanese. Three were killed. One died after being imprisoned and tortured. According to historic accounts, the other four survived until being freed in 1945, "because of the comfort they received from a lone copy of the Bible."