Doolittle Raider Edward Saylor passes away

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Thorlifter, Jan 30, 2015.

  1. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    Only 3 of these brave men are left, my friends......

    One of the last of the 'Doolittle Raiders' dies at 94

    Lt. Col. Edward Saylor, one of the last survivors of the "Doolittle Raiders" who flew a daring World War II bombing mission over Japan just four months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, died Wednesday near Seattle. He was 94.

    With Saylor's death, only three of one of the most storied group of airmen in American history remain. When the young men -- all volunteers -- took off from an aircraft carrier some 600 miles at sea on April 18, 1942, they numbered 80.

    The raid caused little damage on the intended targets. All of the bombers were lost. But the mission boosted the spirits of the American people -- who were still reeling from the attack on Pearl Harbor -- and cast doubt in the minds of the Japanese, Lt. Col. James "Jimmy" Doolittle, the mission planner, would later write in his autobiography.

    Saylor was part of Crew 15, which nearly didn't take off from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet in their twin-engine B-25, said Brian Anderson of New Hampshire, a longtime friend who successfully lobbied for the Congressional Gold Medal the surviving Doolittle Raiders are set to receive later this year in a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

    Three of the then-four Doolittle Raiders shared their last and final toast in November 2013 at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. From left are Lt. Col. Edward Saylor, Lt. Col. Richard Cole and Staff Sgt. David Thatcher. (Photo: Desiree Palacios/Air Force)

    "Ed was a super guy. He had a great smile and was a gentle individual," Anderson said Thursday in a telephone interview with Air Force Times.

    "What a lot of people don't know is that he saved Aircraft 15 to go on the mission. It had an engine problem. If Ed had not fixed the problem, they would have pushed his B-25 overboard," he said.

    Saylor managed to rebuild part of the B-25's engines aboard the heaving aircraft carrier without the tools he needed, Anderson said. "The rest is history. Plane 15 took off with no issues thanks to the work of Ed Saylor."

    Saylor was born in 1920 in Brussett, Mont. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1939 after seeing a poster that promised $78 a month as a mechanic and good peacetime pay as the country still was recovering from the Great Depression, he told Air Force Times in 2009. He became a flight engineer on the B-25.

    When the call went out in early 1942 for volunteers for a secret mission, Saylor signed up. He did not expect that he would one day be called a hero.

    In his late 80s, Saylor still did not see himself as such.

    "There is no way you can call yourself a hero," he said in 2009. "That is for someone else to say."

    After the raid, Saylor transferred to England and accepted an officer's commission, Anderson said. He retired in 1967 after 28 years in the Air Force. In the years that followed, Saylor "dabbled in real estate and construction. He and his wife, Lorraine, had a restaurant."

    Lorraine Saylor died in 2011 after 69 years of marriage. They had three children and a host of grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.

    "When given the chance to tell the story, he was always eager. The Doolittle Raiders always had time for people and fans to sign autographs and answer questions," Anderson said. "He was just a very gracious gentleman. I'm just honored I had the chance to call him my friend."

    Anderson last saw Saylor over Veterans Day weekend at an event in Washington, D.C. "I got to spend a lot of time with Ed. It seemed like he was doing fine. I find out he was in hospice and now he's gone."

    Saylor requested a quiet burial.

    "He just wants to be laid to rest next to his wife. He's requesting in lieu of flowers that people make a donation to the Wounded Warrior Foundation," Anderson said.

    The three surviving Doolittle raiders are Lt. Col. Richard Cole, Staff Sgt. David Thatcher and Lt. Col. Robert Hite.

    "This is the Air Force legacy," Anderson said.
     
  2. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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  3. N4521U

    N4521U Well-Known Member

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    I was at a Raiders reunion about 22 years ago.
    Doolittle couldn't make that one.
    They were all heros.
     
  4. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    rochie Well-Known Member

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