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Airmen, sailors commemorate 69th anniversary of Doolittle Raid and Battle of Midway

A Navy color guard from the Naval Operations Support Center in Tucson fold an American Flag during a memorial ceremony honoring the Doolittle raid and victory at the Battle of Midway June 3. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Eric Petosky)

A Navy color guard from the Naval Operations Support Center in Tucson fold an American Flag during a memorial ceremony honoring the Doolittle raid and victory at the Battle of Midway June 3. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Eric Petosky)

Cmdr. Russ Orvik, Naval Operations Support Center Tucson commander, renders a salute and sings the National Anthem during a memorial ceremony honoring the Doolittle raid and victory at the Battle of Midway June 3. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Eric Petosky)

Cmdr. Russ Orvik, Naval Operations Support Center Tucson commander, renders a salute and sings the National Anthem during a memorial ceremony honoring the Doolittle raid and victory at the Battle of Midway June 3. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Eric Petosky)

Lt. Col. Chris Buckley, 612th Air Operations Center, Strategy Division chief, delivers a speech during a memorial ceremony honoring the Doolittle raid and victory at the Battle of Midway June 3. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Eric Petosky)

Lt. Col. Chris Buckley, 612th Air Operations Center, Strategy Division chief, delivers a speech during a memorial ceremony honoring the Doolittle raid and victory at the Battle of Midway June 3. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Eric Petosky)

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Airmen from the 612th Air Operations Center at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, and sailors from the Naval Operations Support Center in Tucson commemorated the 69th anniversary of the Battle of Midway and Doolittle Raid in a ceremony at the University of Arizona student union Memorial Rotunda June 3.

On April 18th, 1942, then Lt. Col. "Jimmy" Doolittle launched 16 B-25 bombers from the deck of the USS Hornet in the Western Pacific, intent on bombing industrial centers in imperial Japan. The raid caused minimal damage, but proved that Japan was vulnerable to attack from the air. Shortly after the raid from June 4th - 7th, 1942, the U.S. Navy won the decisive Battle of Midway, a critical turning point during the war in the Pacific.

"Today, as we remember the Doolittle Raid and the Battle of Midway, we cannot go very far into the ceremony, deep into any memory or long into any conversation without recognizing the sheer courage and incredible heroism of these brave men," said Lt. Col. Chris Buckley, strategy division chief at the 612th AOC, during the opening speech at the ceremony. "In speaking solely of the Doolittle Raid it is this courage, along with a few other unique aspects of the Raid, that still inspires and motivates Airmen today."

The 612th AOC is housed in Doolittle Center and the Airmen who serve there have adopted "Raiders" as their legacy title. The center falls under the command of 12th Air Force, which was first commanded by newly-promoted Brig. Gen. Jimmy Doolittle five months after the raid over Japan.

"The 612th AOC Raiders are proud to carry on Doolittle's legacy of excellence and service," said Col. Mark Koechle, 612th AOC commander. "The Doolittle Raid was a tactical mission executed in a joint operational environment that had strategic significance. This closely resembles the mission of the Air and Space Operations Center today. We function in a joint environment -- planning, commanding and controlling tactical missions that deliver strategic effects to an operation or a contingency."
 

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