Doolittle, James Harold (1896–1993), a United States army aviator and business executive. He won fame in World War II for leading the first United States air squadron to bomb Japan (April, 1942). For this exploit he was awarded the nation's highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor.
Doolittle was born in Alameda, California. He attended the University of Califor-nia for a short time and then joined the U.S. Army in 1917. A daring aviator, he won many trophies for cross-country flying. In 1929 Doolittle made the first totally “blind” flight, becoming the first pilot to take off fly, and land an airplane while guided solely by instruments. He studied engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he received a doctorate, and in 1930 left the army to enter private industry.
Recalled to active duty in 1940, Doolittle soon attained the temporary rank of lieutenant general in the Army Air Forces. He left the service in 1946 and returned to private industry.
I Could Never Be So Lucky Again (1991) is his autobiography.