Military - GrambsPhoto


Dave Thatcher was flight engineer/gunner on crew #7 for the April 18, 1942, bombing of Tokyo and other Japanese cities. The 16 B-25 Mitchells lumbered off the deck of the USS Hornet deep in the western Pacific, each carrying four 500-pound bombs, in a daring move to raise American morale and shake Japan's confidence at a time when the Japanese were winning everything. It did both. All the bombers were lost -- none of them to hostile action -- and 11 of the 80 aircrew were killed or captured. Thatcher's plane ditched at sea. He is shown here, age 88, at a 2010 air show in Reading, Pennsylvania. Thatcher died in 2016, the next to last veteran of the mission.