Another Doolittle Raider passes

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tbarlow

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Unread post04 Jan 2010, 04:36

From mysa.com

http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_ ... _Raid.html

Macia was a navigator in WWII's Doolittle Raid

Col. James H. Macia, Jr.

BORN: April 10, 1916, in Tombstone, Ariz.

DIED: Dec. 20, 2009, in Philadelphia

MILITARY: Army Air Corps, 1940-45; Air Force, 1951-73

PRECEDED BY: His wife, Mary Alice

SURVIVED BY: Sons, Col. James H. Macia III, and Thomas E. Macia; four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren

SERVICES: A memorial service will be held 11 a.m. on Friday, at St. Paul's Episcopal Church.

By Michele Gualano - Express-News In April 1942, just four months after Pearl Harbor, the U.S. military launched a retaliatory attack against Japan, sending 16 B-25 bombers on a one-way mission from the USS Hornet.

The Doolittle Raid, named for its commander, Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle, was the first U.S. strike against targets on the Japanese home islands.

The mission was aimed at lifting America's morale, and showed that the United States was capable of bringing the war to Japan.

Among the 80 crewmembers — all volunteers — was Lt. James “Herb” Macia Jr., who died Dec. 20 in Philadelphia of complications from Alzheimer's.

He was 93.

The son of a miner in Tombstone, Ariz., Macia decided to pursue a degree in mining engineering at the University of Arizona.

During this time, a group of his buddies signed up for the flying cadet program, and though Macia never had an interest in planes, he applied.

Macia was accepted and trained as a navigator.

About a year after completing navigation training, Macia volunteered for a mission that he knew little about.

“After he volunteered, he was in a briefing room and Jimmy Doolittle walked in, who at the time was the premiere aviator,” his son James “Herb” Macia III said. “That's when he realized this would be something big.”

And it was. The B-25 crewmembers trained diligently for about a month, learning the skills needed to take off from the deck of an aircraft carrier.

It was meant to be a night raid, but on the day of the planned attacks, that changed.

“The Japanese discovered them, so they had to take off early,” Macia's son said. “My father told the pilot, ‘This looks like we may not make it,' but they all just accepted that possibility.”

Macia's crew did make it. After hitting their targets they bailed out over China.

“His crew was completely unscathed,” Macia said. “And after that, he knew what he was up against, so future missions he was a lot more afraid.”

Macia went on to fly 80 missions in World War II, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel.

He later worked for the Pentagon with the director of intelligence and at Kelly AFB as the director of operations for the Air Force Security Service.

After retirement he was business manager at Assumption Seminary, where he helped organize the visit of Pope John Paul II to San Antonio in 1987.

“He always had this kind of optimism, like ‘Hey, we can do this,'” his son said. “I think that came from being a first-generation son of the American western frontier, that's a legacy of all first-generation people.”

Former crewmen of the Doolittle Raid have hosted an annual reunion for over 60 years.

Macia attended many of these gatherings, which honor the airmen who never made it home.
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Gums

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Unread post31 Jan 2010, 16:13

Salute!

Yeah, they are dropping every day now. They are my Dad's age and he passed this past May, just a week or so from his 90th birthday.

We lost a Raider here this past year, Horton.

Coincidentally, I drove to the practice field a little over a week ago to get some pics for another group.



I always get goose bumps standing on that ramp or the runway, and I go there every year for the anniversary and sip[ a mini of cognac in their remembrance.

Gums sends ...
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highway_sign.jpg
Highway sign
the_ramp.jpg
parking ramp
practice_runway.jpg
practice runway
Gums
Viper pilot '79
"God in your guts, good men at your back, wings that stay on - and Tally Ho!"
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tbarlow

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Unread post31 Jan 2010, 16:23

Wow, I bet standing there you can hear the engines of those B-25's! :salute:
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LinkF16SimDude

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Unread post31 Jan 2010, 22:32

Is that ramp near Eglin and if it is, is it on base?
Why does "monosyllabic" have 5 syllables?
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Unread post01 Feb 2010, 18:32

Salute!

The practice field is at: 30deg 40 min 4.47 sec/ 86 deg 20 min 55.79 sec.

Google Earth has good imagery.

The field is at the north edge of the Eglin range and I assume that in 1942 that it was dirt roads all the way.

The "serious" sign at the entrance has been replaced by a more "benign" one that warns about having restricted access credentials. The old one had all the stuff about "Use of deadly force authorized", etc. So my wife balked when I took her up there once I found the place. I told her that if apprehended, we would just play dumb and not make any fast movements or whatever.

Took me years to confirm the site, and a USAF historian finally nailed it. Then a few folks got the plaque put up at the highway entrance about two years back.

Yes indeed, I can smell the avgas and oil and feel the vibrations of those motors. Face the west and salute, then escape and evade back out, heh heh. Very spiritual, I tellya.

Gums sends...
Gums
Viper pilot '79
"God in your guts, good men at your back, wings that stay on - and Tally Ho!"
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fiskerwad

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Unread post01 Feb 2010, 19:18

I found some additional details and a nice closeup photo of the sign here:
http://members.tripod.com/airfields_fre ... _Eglin.htm

Respects and gratitude.
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johnwill

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Unread post01 Feb 2010, 21:01

Gums, Fisk,

Thanks for posting all that information. People need to be reminded of those who sacrificed so much for the freedoms we still enjoy.
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Roscoe

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Unread post03 Feb 2010, 07:23

I know that field well (but didn't know its history). As a young Lt I spent many a day on the two adjacent test ranges (Sled tack on C-74 [NE] and the bomb targets on C-72 [SE]).

Gums, I'd forgotten you lived in that area...I was at Eglin three times since October doing testing on C-52.
Roscoe

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