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Skip to main content Press Enter. Home About Us Biographies Display. Medal of Honor recipient, pioneering holder of speed records, leader of first aerial attack on the Japanese mainland, and famed World War II air commander. James Harold Doolittle was born in Alameda, Calif. On July 1, Doolittle got his regular commission and promotion to first lieutenant.
James Harold Doolittle December 14, — September 27, was an American military general and aviation pioneer. He made early coast-to-coast flights, won many flying races, and helped develop instrument flying. Doolittle studied as an undergraduate at University of California, Berkeley , graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in and earning a doctorate in aeronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in He was awarded the Medal of Honor for personal valor and leadership as commander of the Doolittle Raid , a bold long-range retaliatory air raid on some of the Japanese main islands on April 18, , four months after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The attack was a major morale booster for the United States and Doolittle was celebrated as a hero. After World War II, he retired and left the Air Force but remained active in many technical fields, and was eventually promoted to general 26 years after retirement. Doolittle was born in Alameda, California , and spent his youth in Nome, Alaska , where he earned a reputation as a boxer. By , Jimmy Doolittle was attending school in Los Angeles. Doolittle took a leave of absence in October to enlist in the Signal Corps Reserve as a flying cadet; he ground trained at the School of Military Aeronautics an Army school on the campus of the University of California , and flight-trained at Rockwell Field , California. Army on March 11,