Candidate designs for the Congressional Gold Medal honoring Doolittle Tokyo Raiders have been created and reviewed in preparation for the United States Mint to strike it and produce bronze duplicates for sale to the public.
Public Law 113-106 awarded the gold medal to celebrate World War II members of the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders for outstanding heroism, valor, skill, and service to the United States in conducting the first bombing strike on Japanese homeland.
The Doolittle Raiders, 80 Americans led by Lieutenant Colonel James H. "Jimmy" Doolittle, took off from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet in 16 B-25 bombers on April 18, 1942 to attack military targets in Tokyo and other cities. All volunteers, the men of the 17th Bombardment Group accepted the risk that their B-25s might not have enough fuel to reach the safety of designated landing sites — in fact, none of the 16 airplanes reached the prearranged airfields in China. Of the 80 Doolittle Tokyo Raiders, 8 were captured, 2 died as a result of crash landing, and 1 died on bail-out after the mission. Four of the captured died, 3 by execution and 1 by disease.
Today, four of the raiders remain with us. Three of them were able to participate in the design process and came to a consensus on what they wanted on the medal, according to Brian Anderson, the sergeant at arms for the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders.
Fifteen obverse (heads side) and 9 reverse (tails side) Doolittle Tokyo Raiders medal design candidates were unveiled the U.S. Mint and then reviewed by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) on Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014. The United States Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) will review them on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014. With recommendations from the two bodies and other parties, the U.S. Treasury Secretary will make the final two selections.
Images of Doolittle Tokyo Raiders Medal Designs
Line art images of the proposed designs and CCAC recommendations are below. (Return to this article later for an updated accounting of CFA recommendations.) Also included are narratives of each design as provided by the U.S. Mint.
For the obverse, the liaison preferred design #3. CCAC members liked the aspect of power presented in design #2. Voting was close with that design garnering two more votes than #6. A motion was made to select #6 since the chosen reverse also featured bombers. The motion failed. In consulting with the liaison, a motion was made and passed for design #2 to add the superstructure to the carrier’s deck. Another motion passed to remove "First Strike Back" and replace it with "April 18, 1042."
DTR-CGM-O-01, DTR-CGM-O-01A, DTR-CGM-O-02, DTR-CGM-O-03, DTR-CGM-O-04, and DTR-CGM-O-05 depict the North American B-25B Mitchell launching off the USS Hornet CV-8 on April 18, 1942. The 16 stars represent the 16 flight crews that made up the Doolittle Raiders. Inscriptions are "Doolittle Tokyo Raiders," "First Strike Back," and "April 18, 1942."
DTR-CGM-O-06 depicts a seahorse, eagle, and 16 stars. The seahorse represents the USS Hornet and is symbolic of knowledge, strength, and being the ruler of the sea. The eagle represents the B-25 Mitchell and is a symbol for ruler of the sky. Lightning bolts are included to symbolize the 17th Bombardment Group’s ability to strike fast and with precision. The 16 stars represent the 16 flight crews that took part in this combat mission. Inscriptions are "Doolittle Tokyo Raiders" and "First Strike Back."
DTR-CGM-O-07 portrays a B-25B Mitchell launching from the deck of the USS Hornet as a signal officer gives the ‘all clear’ for takeoff. A partial view of the USS Hornet is seen in the background. Inscriptions are "Doolittle Tokyo Raiders," "First Strike Back," and "April 18, 1942."
DTR-CGM-O-08 depicts three B-25B Mitchells in formation after takeoff from the deck of the USS Hornet. A pilot looks to the west, towards the target in anticipation of what he will encounter. One B-25B Mitchell is shown close up as it begins its journey. Inscriptions are "Doolittle Tokyo Raiders" and "First Strike Back."
DTR-CGM-O-09 and DTR-CGM-O-10 depicts a B-25B Mitchell just as it launches from the flight deck of the USS Hornet. Inscriptions are "Doolittle Tokyo Raiders" along the upper rim with 16 stars below and "First Strike Back."
DTR-CGM-O-11 and DTR-CGM-O-12 — Design 11 depicts a B-25B Mitchell flying along the coast over Yokosuka, Japan, while design 12 depicts the aircraft as it takes off the deck of the USS Hornet. Inscriptions are "Doolittle Tokyo Raiders," "First Strike Back," and "April 18, 1942."
DTR-CGM-O-13 and DTR-CGM-O-14 depicts the B-25B Mitchell, recently launched from the platform of the USS Hornet. Design 14 includes a generic Raider to represent the airmen included in this mission. Both designs feature 16 stars that represent the flight crews who participated in this mission. Inscriptions are "Doolittle Tokyo Raiders" and "First Strike Back."
For the reverse, the liaison preferred design #4. The CCAC selected #8. In consulting with the liaison, a motion was made and passed to replace "17th Bombardment" with the motto "Toujours Au Danger" and "First Strike Back."
DTR-CGM-R-01 depicts the arrival of the aircrafts at their target; two of the sixteen B-25B Mitchells release their bombs. Sixteen stars are used to represent the flight crew participating in this mission. Inscriptions include the Doolittle Raiders motto "Toujours au Danger," which translates into "Always into Danger," as well as "17th Bombardment Group" and "Act of Congress 2014."
DTR-CGM-R-02 depicts a B-25B Mitchell. Inscriptions are "17th Bombardment Group," "Act of Congress 2014," and "First Joint Mission," by members of the United States Army Air Corps and Navy.
DTR-CGM-R-03, DTR-CGM-R-04, DTR-CGM-R-05, DTR-CGM-R-06 depict B-25B Mitchell aircrafts flying or launching from the USS Hornet, as well as the four patches representing the four squadrons (34th, 37th, 89th, and 95th) that make up the 17th Bombardment Group. Design 05 includes a wreath of laurel and design 06 includes 16 stars. Inscriptions are "17th Bombardment Group," "Toujours Au Danger," and "Act of Congress 2014."
DTR-CGM-R-07 depicts a thunderbird, lion, winged helmet, and mule, which represent the four squadrons within the 17th Bombardment Group. Inscriptions include "Toujours Au Danger" and "Act of Congress 2014."
DTR-CGM-R-08 portrays a bird’s eye view of the 17th Bombardment Group as it reaches its mission. A graphic representation of the island, Honshu, is depicted below. Inscribed along the border are the four squadrons that make-up the 17th Bombardment Group. Additional inscriptions are "17th Bombardment Group" and "Act of Congress 2014."
DTR-CGM-R-09 depicts the Army Air Corps Star which appears on the B-25s and the tail numbers of the 16 aircrafts arranged in the order they left the deck of the USS Hornet. Inscriptions are "Toujours Au Danger" and "April 18, 1942."
I think the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) choices are ugly and quite insulting. The Raiders earned the medal and the nation waited 72 years to award them. Their choices should be selected for the final design. Also somewhere on the coin, it should say “USS Hornet.”
Well said. I wish I could be there to pay homage to the last of the Raiders!!!
Real men, and real heroes!! Just pray to God, our country has men like these in her future. We can only hope.