April 18 - 1942: Cape Cod airman takes part in Doolittle Raid over Japan

Cape airman among first to bomb Japan in WWII. 2007: Bee colonies collapse on Cape
As did most of the other crewmen who participated in the mission, Doolittle's crew bailed out safely over China when their bomber ran out of fuel. Here a B-25 is taking off from the aircraft carrier Hornet.

1942: Cape Cod airman takes part in Doolittle Raid over Japan

Master Sgt. Edwin Horton Jr. flew from aircraft carrier Hornet

On this day in 1942, a Cape Codder was among 80 airmen to bomb Japan in the Doolittle Raid, the first US air attack on Japan in World War II.

Coming less than five months after the devastating Japanese assault on the Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, the Doolittle Raid, named for its commanding officer, James "Jimmy" Doolittle, caused little damage in Japan. But it provided a badly-needed boost to morale for Americans in the ominous months after the United States was thrust into the global conflict.

Among those taking part was Master Sgt. Edwin Horton Jr., on the right, who was from Eastham. Retired United States Air Force Master Sgt. Edwin Horton Jr., died in 2008 at age 92, and was last surviving crewmember of plane #10 of the famous World War II "Doolittle Tokyo Raiders". Horton was born March 28, 1916, in North Eastham, Mass.

The 16 B-25 bombers used in the attack, the only time US Army Air Corps bombers were launched from an aircraft carrier on a combat mission, took off from the carrier Hornet about 650 miles east of Tokyo.

Providing air cover in the vicinity of the Hornet were fighter planes from the carrier Enterprise. All told, two carriers, three heavy cruisers, one light cruiser, eight destroyers and two fleet oilers comprised the task force assembled for the raid. The ships proceeded under strict radio silence to avoid detection.

The task force was spotted by a Japanese patrol boat, leading to a decision to launch the bombers 10 hours early and 170 miles farther away than expected.

The B-25s struck military and industrial targets in Tokyo, Yokohama, Yokosuko, Nagoya, Kobe and Osaka. None was shot down or badly damaged by anti-aircraft fire, but all were ditched or forced to crash land before reached their intended airfields in China due to the earlier than expected departure from the Hornet. Eleven crewmen were killed or captured.

Horton was among those who survived the raid and the war. As of  November 2007, he was retired and living in Florida.

2007: 'Colony collapse’ worries bee-devil farmers

Prices for "rental bee hives" have tripled

On this day in 2007 the State's agriculture experts are getting increasingly concerned that a mysterious decline in pollinating honey bees could end up stinging the local cranberry and apple industries. 

The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources is starting its inspections of commercial beehives earlier than normal this year in order to track any appearance of the so-called “colony collapse disorder” that has hit the apiary (or bee) industry in 26 other states. Meanwhile, local cranberry, apple, blueberry and other fruit growers are bracing for higher seasonal prices for active bee hives, which are rented from commercial beekeepers so the little critters can buzz around and pollinate crops.

“Our crops rely entirely on pollinators,” said Jeff LaFleur, executive director of the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association. “We’re watching this very closely.”

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