While doodling this sketch of the notable Jimmy Doolittle, I realized how little I actually know about him. Aside from leading the famous “Doolitte Raid” on Tokyo, I couldn’t tell you one thing (hey, I’m an artist not a history professor). Anyway, after a little Googling I came up with this list of things I didn’t know but found very interesting. Perhaps other readers will as well.
- In 1922 he made the first flight to cross the continent in less than a day, or 21 hours, 19 minutes to be exact.
- Earned a master’s degree and Ph.D. in aeronautical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, writing his dissertation on the effects of wind velocity on flying characteristics at the age of 29.
- Performed an aerobatic demonstration in Argentina with two broken ankles.
- Performed the first successful outside loop in 1927.
- First person to win every major aviation racing trophy.
- Won the Bendix Trophy by setting a new speed record, flying from Burbank, CA to Cleveland, OH in 11 hours, 16 minutes.
- While racing, he set speed records for both the Curtis Navy racer seaplane and a Gee Bee R-1.
- Received the Congressional Medal of Honor for leading his famous “Doolittle Raid”, a carrier-based, B-25 bomber attack on Tokyo and the first U.S. attack on Japan in World War II.
- Commanded the 12th Air Force in North Africa, the 15th in Italy and the 8th in England and Okinawa.
- Was offered but declined a position as NASA’s first administrator.
- After his retirement he became chairman of the board of Space Technology Laboratories.