Montana Mourns the Death of Missoula’s Own ‘Doolittle Raider’ David Thatcher
MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — One of the last two surviving members of the Doolittle Raiders, who bombed Japan during World War II in retaliation for the attack on Pearl Harbor, has died in Montana.
Retired Staff Sgt. David Jonathan Thatcher died Wednesday in a Missoula hospital. He was 94. His son Jeff told the Missoulian newspaper his father had a stroke Sunday.
Thatcher's death leaves Retired Lt. Col. Richard "Dick" Cole of Comfort, Texas, as the only living airman among 80 who took off from an aircraft carrier for a 16-plane bombing mission that targeted military and industrial sites in Japan on April 18, 1942.
Thatcher was engineer-gunner aboard the plane nicknamed "The Ruptured Duck," whose crew's crash-landing and evasion of Japanese troops in China was depicted in the movie "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo."