"These accomplishments made all-weather airline operations practical."
He was awarded the Medal of Honor upon his return from the Tokyo raid by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and promoted two grades to Brigadier General. In addition to his Medal of Honor, Doolittle also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, two Distinguished Service Medals, three Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Bronze Star and numerous other honors from several European and Latin American countries. He earned a doctorate in aeronautical engineering from MIT. But the honor he seemed to relish the most was the few simple words punctuated with a cuss uttered by an illiterate hard rock miner in Virginia City, Nevada when he was a nineteen year old kid.
Interview With General James H. Doolittle [1984 thru 1993],
air circulation." The water put the light out. The surface crew continued to lower Doolittle in the dark (another 200 feet) until he got to the top of the cage. In pitch black he found "the tremendous [fallen] coil of cable on the cage top" which he had to pick through before he could drop down into the cage. He found the two occupants dead. Another man was sent down and the two hooked up a new cable and were hoisted back to the surface.
Back on the surface, Doolittle found his new heroic stature made him "the fair haired boy." It was then that a hardened hard rock miner told him, "Kid, there's no shit in your neck." "It was," said Doolittle, "his way of saying there wasn't any yellow streak down my back." No longer a college kid, he was treated from then on as "one of the boys."
Jimmy Doolittle at Minus 2,900 Feet
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Returning to Berkeley in November and with America participating in World War I, he quit school and volunteered for pilot training with the Aviation Section of the Army's Signal Corps. The rest of Doolittle's life is a chronicle of success. During the interwar years he became one of the most famous aviation pioneers in the world. He made the first cross country flight from Florida to San Diego in 1922. He won numerous air races and set a number of records. His greatest contribution to aviation would be the development of instrument flying. He helped develop (and was the first to flight test) the artificial horizon and directional gyroscope.
Jimmy Doolittle, circa 1922, shortly after first test flight using instruments