Chapin, SC (Paul Kirby) Commemoration at Crooked Creek Park in Chapin of Colonel Jimmy Doolittle’s raid on Tokyo, Japan during World War II is going on now. It is a part of the 75th anniversary of that event.
This raid was a blow to the heartland of the Japanese after their sneak attack on the US Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Colonel Doolittle and his raiders launched bombers from the deck of an aircraft carrier, a feat that was thought to be impossible at the time. The success of the raid made the Japanese citizens realize that they were not untouchable in their homeland. It seriously demoralized their country and its people.
Doolittle’s Raiders practiced some of their flights from the Lexington County Army Air Base near Columbia, South Carolina. This is the present-day Columbia Metropolitan Airport. Later, other bombers continued to fly B-25 bombers from that base, and even practiced dropping bombs on an island on Lake Murray. That island is called Bombing Range Island by some, even today.
Now, the commemoration continues at Crooked Creek Park. There will be three opportunities to learn more about this part of America’s World War II history.
First, on Thursday, April 6, the Sunrise Rotary Chapter will have a 7:45 am PowerPoint presentation by Richard Peterson, a Lake Murray resident and descendant of four family members who were pivotal in the Doolittle raid. He will provide interesting details regarding the ditching of the B-25 bomber in Lake Murray that happened in the spring of 1943. That plane was actually pulled from the bottom of Lake Murray in 2005.
At 11 am, author Rachel Haynie will share with the Lunch Bunch highlights from her books Cornfield to Airfield: A History of Columbia Army Air Base and Stalled, a WWII honeymoon story that begins when a B-25 hit the waters of Lake Murray.
Beginning at 10 am, local historian Randall Shealy will have a show and tell session with his vast collection of artifacts from, and about Lake Murray. Shealy will be in the lobby at the Crooked Creek Park until 2:30 pm. The public is welcome to attend all of these events.
On April 18, the actual 75th anniversary of the Doolittle raid, the Capital City Big Band will play during a 7 pm until 9 pm dance and concert in town at the Lourie Center. Tickets for this event are $10 in advance and can be bought on-line at louriecentersc/activities/special-events/upcoming-concert.
The Spirit of Lake Murray has also scheduled a series of cruises out to the islands that served as bombing training sites for WWII airmen at Columbia Army Air Base. For dates and rates, go to www.spiritoflakemurray.com and scroll down to Public Cruises. You can also call 803-730-3044.