Toward the Setting Sun
The USS “Hornet” (CV-8) steams prophetically into a Pacific sunset with the Doolittle Raider’s 16 B-25s spread and lashed down across her deck. SBD’s of the USS “Enterprise’s” (CV-6) Scouting Squadron 6 (VS-6) patrol above. Sending two of the United States aircraft carriers, the core of Vice Admiral Halsey’s of Task Force 16, to the Japanese coast in 1942 was a risk of the highest order, especially for a fleet and a nation reeling from Japan’s string of Pacific victories. TF 16’s assets were deemed so valuable that its early discovery by Japanese picket craft on the morning of April 18, 1942, 200 miles short of the intended launch point, prompted the immediate launch of Doolittle’s aircraft. At the time, the mission was even referred to as the Halsey-Doolittle Raid. Nine of the sixteen ships that made up TF 16, most importantly the carriers “Hornet” and “Enterprise,” would six weeks later take part in dealing the staggering blow to the Japanese Fleet off Midway. The Doolittle-Halsey Raid truly marked the point when the Rising Sun first began to set.
Countersigners: Col. Richard E. Cole, Lt. Col. Robert L. Hite, Maj. Thomas C. Griffin, S/Sgt. David J. Thatcher