The SCROLL of Phi Delta Theta for November,
told how this group of fliers came into
the Jap mainland from the water, flying
almost on the waves. Japanese farmers,
working in the fields, waved and grinned
at the planes, though some of them
ducked, because the planes were flying so
low. Forty minutes of flying over the
mainland took the American bombers to
Tokyo; they apprpached from the mouth
of the Bay. "At this time," Brother
Wilder related, "we were traveling very,
very fast, and had encountered no opposition. We crossed the Bay and dropped
our first bomb, five hundred pounds of
demolition, on the factory district. Our
target was an oil refinery of the Nippon
Electric Works, and the bomb hit the
building squarely in the center. Boilers
in the plant burst, adding to the concussion, and we could see the whole huge
building crumbling like a block house.
The second bomb was dropped a few
minutes later on a storage tank farm.
The largest tank in the group was the
target, and again a direct hit was accounted for. Flames immediately leaped
skyward. The fourth and last bomb was
dropped on a textile mill but the damage
could not be carefully estimated, as we
were in a hurry.
"Anti-aircraft fire was intense after the
first bomb was dropped, but most of it
was too late, hundreds of yards behind
the fast-flying ships. Only a few bursts
were close enough to bump the plane.
"Coming back, over Yokohama, antiaircraft gunners placed on the hills
opened fire at us, but we were flying so
low that they had to shoot down at us.
The shells missed us, but we could see
them hit in the city and explode. As we
left the vicinity, we looked back and
saw huge clouds of smoke rising from
Tokyo and Yokohama, caused by our
bombs and the bombs dropped by the
"Four barrage balloons were sighted
over Tokyo, but all four were shot down
by the frantic Jap A A gunners, who were
shooting at everything they could see."
It was the first time any of the American fliers had operated under fire, their
first bombing expedition. The group was
hand-picked by General Doolittle, who
flew one of the ships himself.
"Our only regret, after the trip, was
that more ships didn't participate," said
RODNEY Ross WILDER, Southwestern
Wilder. "If we could have used a few
hundred planes in that raid, the Japs
would have just quit."
Ross Wilder had his basic training at
San Diego, his primary at Moffet Field,
and his advanced training at Stockton,
California. He was commissioned on
July 11, 1941, and assigned to the 95th
Bombardment Squadron, 17th group, at
Pendleton, Oregon. He served with this
unit until he volunteered for the Doolittle mission.
Husky, powerful, soft-spoken, the
young American hero is just the same
person that he was when he left Southwestern University three years ago to
join the Air Forces. He returned this
summer to help in the rush week at
Texas Gamma. He is proud of his Fraternity, having served as President in his
senior year. And A is more indebted
now than ever before to Captain Rodney
Ross Wilder, for the honor he has
brought to us.