The LIFE Picture Collection/Gett[/caption]Today, as tensions rise in North Korea, America’s Vice President has assured its ally Japan of U.S. support.  ABC News reports V.P. Mike Pence as saying “"We appreciate the challenging times in which the people of Japan live with increasing provocations from across the Sea of Japan.....We are with you 100 percent."

75 years ago today it would have been a different message and it was quite a different story. On April 18,1942 Lt Col Jimmy Doolittle led a group of 16 B-26 bombers off the aircraft carrier USS Hornet and hit Tokyo and other Japanese cities. It was the first U-S response to the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.  Bombers had never before taken off from an aircraft carrier and many feared it would be the most dangerous part of the top secret mission.

The plan was to prove to the Japanese that their homeland was not invulnerable while lifting U.S. morale back home.  The idea was to bomb Tokyo and various spots on the island and then all fly off and land on a portion of free China.

According to the raid website it didn’t exactly work out that way.  Thanks http://www.doolittleraider.com/ here’s history by the numbers.

80 men took part in the raid.  Five men each in sixteen planes.  10,000 Navy personnel in the Task Force helped launched planes.

One man killed on bail-out after mission, Two men from Crew #6 drowned as a result of crash landing in the water off China coast. Eight men were captured by the Japanese, Three executed by firing squad, One died of beriberi and malnutrition while in prison & Four survived 40 months of prison, most of which was in solitary confinement.

For another great recount of the men and the mission-which all Americans should know and revere, check out:   http://www.wcvb.com/article/75-years-ago-the-doolittle-raid-changed-history/9522671