Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo by Craig Kodera

Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo by Craig Kodera

Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo by Craig Kodera.
 
Countersigned by General James H. Doolittle, Colonel Dean Davenport, Captain Charles L. McClure, and Corporal David J. Thatcher
On April 18, 1942, sixteen B-25's took off from the USS Hornet and made the perilous flight to Tokyo Bay.  "Ted Lawson and his crew were on the sixth aircraft to be launched from the carrier," says aviation artist and American Airlines First Officer Craig Kodera, "and the title of this piece comes from Ted.  There's a passage in his book, Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, in which he actually said 'We only spent thirty seconds over Tokyo.'"   Talking to Kodera about the vitally important first air raid on Japan during World War II is almost like talking to an actual participant.  Kodera's knowledge and enthusiasm are exhaustive.  "John A. Hilger was second-in-command on the raid," he reveals, "and he was my uncle.  This whole thing is a labor of love for me because I grew up with a lot of the Raiders."  These were "Doolittle's Raiders" - named after their leader, then-Lieutenant Colonel James H. Doolittle - the crews of sixteen B-25's which were the heaviest planes ever to take off from aircraft carriers, and the first enemy force to attack Japan successfully. 
 
Ever since the 13th century, when a typhoon destroyed an invading Mongol armada, the Japanese had considered themselves to be protected by a "Divine Wind," or, in Japanese, "kamikaze."  The WWII Allies needed to break that belief of invulnerability.  The targets of Doolittle's Raiders were industrial and military centers all along Tokyo Bay.  The Raiders came in low, rose to 1500 feet over their targets, and then dropped low again. so low, in fact, that Lawson vividly remembered seeing the shocked face of a train engineer as he passed the locomotive. "The Raiders were very lucky," Kodera says.  "They had Japanese planes flying overhead on training exercise, and there were a couple of aircraft carriers in port, but nobody did anything.  They flew with virtual impunity until they got to the target area, and then Tokyo started to let them have it. 
 
Even then, the Japanese gunners were leading too far and missed the raiders every time.  Everything went surprisingly well until the very end of the mission, when the bombers began to run out of fuel.  The name of Lawson's plane, "Ruptured Duck," and its fowl-on-crutches nose art painted by Roger Lovelace, proved ironic when the aircraft crashed on the China coast.   Lawson lost his left leg in the accident, but survived the mission.  He wrote Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, the best-selling book which was also made into a top-grossing film.  Van Johnson played Lawson in the film version, but Lawson himself signed the stirring painting that Craig Kodera created, based on Lawson's reminiscences.  Countersigning the print are General Jimmy Doolittle and three men from Lawson's crew-Colonel Dean Davenport, co-pilot; Captain Charles L. McClure, navigator; and Corporal David J. Thatcher, gunner-heroes all.  "Prints will be given to each family of the mission's survivors," says Kodera. "For me, this is a family thing.  I only wish my uncle were still alive to be part of it."
 
Print released 1992.
offset litho, 1000 s/n
Current Availability: Sold Out at Publisher / Secondary Market Pricing Applies / Please Email for Cost.
Dimensions: 18" x 37"

 

Issue Price: $275.00

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