William Phillips’ first connection to the Doolittle Raid was through his father, an actor who played Lt. Donald Smith, pilot of plane 15 in the film "30 Seconds over Tokyo." In the early 1980s, Phillips’ sought out General Doolittle to consult on his idea for a painting, "The Giant Begins to Stir." That meeting began a 30-year relationship with the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders and over a dozen paintings creating a one of kind visual history the historical event.
“I wanted this painting to have the feel of a Hollywood ending and I wanted it to be General Doolittle’s plane,” says Phillips. “The mission itself may be complete. But the sense of honor and duty that these men exhibited that day, that is something on which you can base your entire life. For the Raiders, it did.”
"Mission Complete, The Journey Continues" is countersigned by all the attendees of the 70th Anniversary Doolittle Tokyo Raiders Reunion (below).
In addition to the actual signatures of these surviving Raiders on the giclèe canvas reproduced within the image are signatures of over 40 of the members of the April 18, 1942 mission. Phillips took his original painting of The Giant Begins to Stir to the Raiders 41st Reunion and had each attending member paint his signature on the painting. Phillips’ filled in the names, by aircraft, of the rest of the airmen. "Mission Complete, The Journey Continues" is a beautiful, unique and complete historical document of one of the finest hours of American military history.Signatures:Col. USAF (Ret.) Richard E. COLE, Co-Pilot Crew 1
Major USAF (Ret) Thomas C. GRIFFIN, Navigator Crew 9
Major USAF (Ret) Edward J. SAYLOR, Flight Engineer Crew 15
SSgt David J. THATCHER, Engineer-Gunner Crew 7
Richard E. Cole, Colonel
Co-Pilot Crew 1
Cole was the co-pilot of Doolittle's plane and the first off of the Hornet's deck, around 0800 (8:00 am ship time) April 18, 1942. Close to 1330 (1:30 pm ship time), they dropped their first bombs on Tokyo. They continued on toward China. At 2120 (9:20pm ship time) after 13 hours in the air, and having covered nearly 2,250 miles, Cole and the rest of his crew bailed out over China.
Cole enlisted November 22, 1940. He completed pilot training and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant, July, 1941. Cole remained in China-Burma-India until June, 1943 and served again in the China-Burma-India Theater from October, 1943 until June, 1944. Cole was relieved from active duty in January, 1947 but returned to active duty in August, 1947. He was Operations Advisor to Venezuelan Air Force from 1959 to 1962. His peacetime service included posts in Ohio, North Carolina and California. Cole rated as Command Pilot. His decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Medal with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster, the Bronze Star Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal and the Chinese Army, Navy and Air Corps Medal, Class A, 1st Grade.
Thomas Carson Griffin, Major
Navigator Crew 9
Griffin was navigator on the Whirling Dervish. After a smooth take off and bomb run over the Kawasji truck and tank factory in Tokyo the crew headed for China. They bailed out about 100 miles south of Poyang Lake.
Griffin entered service on July 5, 1939 as Second Lieutenant, Coast Artillery, but requested relief from active duty in 1940 to enlist as a Flying Cadet. He was rated as a navigator and re-commissioned on July 1, 1940. After the Tokyo Raid, Griffin served as a navigator in North Africa until he was shot down and captured by the Germans on July 3, 1943. Griffin remained a POW until release in April, 1945. His decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters and the Chinese Army, Navy and Air Corps Medal, Class A, 1st Grade.
Edward Joseph Saylor, Major
Engineer Crew 15
Saylor’s plane was nicknamed TNT and bombed an aircraft factory and dock yards of Kobe. He and all his crew escaped injury when they ditched near an island west of Sangchow, China. Lt. T.R. White, M.D., who flew with Saylor, would amputate the leg of the Ruptured Duck’s Lt. Lawson in China.
Saylor enlisted December 7, 1939 and served throughout World War II in enlisted status both stateside and overseas until March, 1945. Saylor accepted a commission in October, 1947 and served as Aircraft Maintenance Officer at bases in Iowa, Washington, Labrador and England. His decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Force Commendation Medal and the Chinese Army, Navy and Air Corps Medal, Class A, 1st Grade.
David J. Thatcher, Staff Sergeant
Engineer-Gunner Crew 7
Thatcher flew on Lt. Lawson's Ruptured Duck. On take-off, the plane's flaps were not extended and the plane seemed as if it would fall into the water. They recovered and went on to bomb an industrial section of Tokyo. He was the only member of his crew not seriously injured when his plane crashed in the water short of the beach on which they were trying to land. Thatcher's exploits can be read in detail in Lawson's Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo.
Thatcher enlisted December 3, 1940. After the Tokyo Raid, he served in England and Africa until January, 1944. Thatcher was discharged from active duty in July, 1945. His decorations include the Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters and the Chinese Army, Navy and Air Corps Medal, Class A, 1st Grade.