Doolittle, James Harold, 1896–1993, American aviator, b. Alameda, Calif. After serving in World War I as a flier he returned to school and earned a Sc.D. from MIT. He then became noted for his speed flying (world record, 1932) and also engaged in commercial aviation as the head of Shell Oil's aviation department. In 1940 he was recalled to the U.S. Army Air Corps. Doolittle commanded the first bombers that raided (Apr. 18, 1942) Tokyo and other Japanese cities from the aircraft carrier Hornet. He later headed the North African Strategic Air Forces and led the 8th Air Force in its massive attacks on Germany. In 1945 he resigned from the Army with the rank of lieutenant general to return to business. He retired in 1959.
See biographies by Q. J. Reynolds (1953, repr. 1972), C. V. Glines (1972), and L. Thomas and E. Jablonski (1976).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.