The man who led the first aircraft-carrier-based bomber attack on mainland Japan in 1942 had taken his knocks in airplanes. In August 1922, the 25-year-old Lieutenant Doolittle attempted a cross-country flight from Florida. “I waved to the crowd,” he later wrote, “pulled my goggles over my eyes, and started down the beach.” A wheel caught in the sand, and he headed for the water, where his de Havilland DH-4B flipped tail-over-tea-kettle. “I vowed I’d never tell anyone of any future record attempts because there was always the risk of failure, which was bad publicity, not only for me, but for the Air Service, too.” The next month Doolittle became the first person to fly across the country in less than 24 hours.
Photos from: "What Were They Doing at 25?" »