As a distinguished aeronautics pioneer, public servant and citizen soldier, James Harold Doolittle has rendered a lifetime of outstanding service to the United States and its citizens. Through his contributions to our nation’s aeronautics and national defense programs, both in and outside of Government service, and in his embodiment of the concept of a citizen’s duty to national service, General Doolittle has exemplified the ideals of West Point expressed in the motto, “Duty, Honor, Country.”
General Doolittle’s achievements in advancing aircraft performance, notably in speed, in flying by instruments, in converting automotive plants to aircraft and aircraft engine production, and in hastening the development and production of 100 octane aviation fuel, are examples of the enormous impact that he had personally, not only on the rapid growth and capability of United States military aviation, but also on the advancement of US civil aviation and the entry of this nation into space. Through those achievements, he also contributed significantly to the development of United States world military leadership before, during and following World War II.
In addition to making major contributions to aeronautics development and space education, General Doolittle became a national hero as a speed pilot, an innovative test pilot and as the planner and leader of the daring Tokyo Raid of 1942, which demonstrated to our friends, our enemies and, importantly, to ourselves that victory ultimately would be ours.
Throughout his lifetime of service as public servant and citizen soldier, General Doolittle has made a remarkable record of accomplishments for his country. No American has contributed more than he to the pioneering development of our nation’s air power. His selfless and unquestioning response to the call of duty, his extraordinary qualities of intellect, courage and leadership and his continued service to his country, symbolize and reflect the values expressed in the West Point motto. Accordingly, the Association of Graduates of the United States Military Academy hereby awards the 1983 Sylvanus Thayer Award to James Harold Doolittle.