Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Doolittle Raiders

WAR II did not start well. 1941 was a period of constant loss and withdrawal. The Phillipines Islands were lost, and thousands of American soldiers taken captive, making the famous Bataan March that killed so many thousands of them.

Jimmy Doolittle's famous Tokyo Raid using B-25's in April 1942 did little to hurt the Japanese war effort, but did great things to American morale. It was one of the earliest positive stories of the war.

The bombardier for flight 16 of the raid was Jacob DeShazer. After delivering their bombs, with four other crewmen he bailed out. Two were executed. The others spent the rest of the war in a miserable Japanese prisoner of war camp. During this time DeShazer got his hands on a Bible and was able to keep it for about three weeks. He wrote, "I eagerly began to read its pages. I discovered that God had given me new spiritual eyes and that when I looked at the enemy officers and guards who had starved and beaten my companions and me so cruelly, I found my bitter hatred for them changed to loving pity."

After the war, DeShazer spent his life doing missionary work--in Japan. One who he introduced to Christ was Mitsuo Fuchida, the lead pilot in the Pearl Harbor attack.

Jacob DeShazer, aged 95, has died in Salem Oregon.

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