“The Navy’s Key Role in the Halsey-Doolittle Raid”
Wednesday, 18 May 2022 (1900 hrs Eastern Standard Time)
Dr. Dennis Okerstrom is Professor Emeritus at Park University
One of the best-known and feted events of World War II was the daring bombing raid on Tokyo and other Japanese cities by Army Air Corps fliers led by then-Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle. Just four months after Pearl Harbor, this first-ever strike against the islands of Japan lifted the morale of Americans; it was featured during the war in films and books; it is credited with destroying the early illusion of invincibility of the Imperial Japanese Forces. The response of Japanese military leaders to the raid resulted in what is often credited as the turning point in the Pacific war: the Battle of Midway. For eighty years the men who became known as the Doolittle Raiders have been, justifiably, honored for what Admiral Bull Halsey called “one of the most courageous acts in military history.”
Dr. Dennis Okerstrom is Professor Emeritus at Park University near Kansas City, Missouri, retiring in 2018 after 35 years of teaching; the Mary Barlow Professor of Language and Literature, he held posts as head of the Liberal Studies Department and chair of the English Department. He is the author of six books, including Dick Cole’s War: Doolittle Raider, Hump Pilot, Air Commando; in 2015 his book Project 9: Birth of the Air Commandos in World War II won the Best Air Power Book award from the Air Force Historical Foundation. He received numerous honors from the university for his teaching and writing, including the Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award as well as being named Distinguished Humanities Faculty; in 2018 he was given the university’s first-ever Presidential Meritorious Service medal.