Missoula County Coverage

Mar 5, 2013 3:50 PM by Dennis Bragg - KPAX News

Tester, Baucus seek Congressional Gold Medal for Missoula man

WASHINGTON, DC - Senators Jon Tester and Max Baucus want to make sure David Thatcher of Missoula and other remaining servicemen who were part of a daring World War 2 air raid finally get full recognition for their heroism.

The senators announced Tuesday morning they're pressing for the Congressional Gold Medal to be awarded to Thatcher and the others who were part of "Doolittle's Raiders".

The Doolittle Raid consisted of 16 Air Force bombers and 80 crewmen that attacked Japan on April 18, 1942. Led by Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle, the bombers struck military targets in Japan before heading for China.

Many crew members were killed or captured, but the raid served as an important American morale boost early in the war.

Tester and Baucus are introducing legislation to honor the crew for its "outstanding heroism, valor, skill, and service." The measure also specifically honors Thatcher, a staff sergeant in World War II, and the raid's other three living members.

"The Doolittle Raiders volunteered knowing they faced uncertain fates," said Tester, Montana's only member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee. "Their courage and heroism represents the best of our Greatest Generation. Honoring their bravery and that of other veterans ensures that we never forget their immense sacrifices."

"Giving the Doolittle Raiders the highest honor Congress can bestow is one more way we can remember and honor their bravery," said Baucus. "They are true American heroes that inspire us to honor the sacrifices of our military members of all generations."

Tester and Baucus' bipartisan bill also recognizes the airmen for volunteering for an "extremely hazardous mission" without knowing the target, location, or assignment and willingly putting their lives in harm's way.

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