B-1 ‘Ruptured Duck’ rechristening honors Doolittle Tokyo Raiders’ 75th anniversary

Becky Thatcher, daughter of the late Doolittle Raider Staff Sgt. David Thatcher, and U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. William Hatten from 28th Maintenance Squadron from Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Ruptured Duck dedicated crew chief, unveil the newest rendition of the Ruptured Duck artwork during a ceremony for the new Ruptured Duck artwork, Apr. 17, 2017 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. The original artwork featured a cross-eyed duck, wearing a leather helmet, staring out over crossed crutches. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wesley Farnsworth)

Becky Thatcher, daughter of the late Doolittle Raider Staff Sgt. David Thatcher, and U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. William Hatten from 28th Maintenance Squadron from Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Ruptured Duck dedicated crew chief, unveil the newest rendition of the Ruptured Duck artwork during a ceremony for the new Ruptured Duck artwork, Apr. 17, 2017 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. The original artwork featured a cross-eyed duck, wearing a leather helmet, staring out over crossed crutches. (U.S. Air Force photo / Wesley Farnsworth)

Mr. Jeff Thatcher, son of the World War II era Ruptured Duck’s flight engineer, Staff Sgt. Jeff Thatcher, shares memories his father passed on to him before his passing during an unveiling ceremony for the new Ruptured Duck artwork, Apr. 17, 2017 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. In addition to the unveiling, the B-1 aircraft was also christened by the Thatcher family. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wesley Farnsworth)

Mr. Jeff Thatcher, son of the World War II era Ruptured Duck’s flight engineer, Staff Sgt. Jeff Thatcher, shares memories his father passed on to him before his passing during an unveiling ceremony for the new Ruptured Duck artwork, Apr. 17, 2017 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. In addition to the unveiling, the B-1 aircraft was also christened by the Thatcher family.(U.S. Air Force photo / Wesley Farnsworth)

Retired Doolittle Raider, Lt. Col. Dick Cole, (front right) watches an unveiling ceremony for the new Ruptured Duck artwork, Apr. 17, 2017 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Cole is the last remaining member of the original Doolittle Raiders who took off from an aircraft carrier to deliver the first strike of the war on Japanese homeland. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wesley Farnsworth)

Retired Doolittle Raider, Lt. Col. Dick Cole, (front right) watches an unveiling ceremony for the new Ruptured Duck artwork, Apr. 17, 2017 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Cole is the last remaining member of the original Doolittle Raiders who took off from an aircraft carrier to deliver the first strike of the war on Japanese homeland. (U.S. Air Force photo / Wesley Farnsworth)

Becky Thatcher, daughter of the late Doolittle Raider Staff Sgt. David Thatcher, and U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. William Hatten, 28th Maintenance Squadron from Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Ruptured Duck dedicated crew chief, unveil the newest rendition of the Ruptured Duck artwork in front of a crowd during a ceremony, Apr. 17, 2017 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. The original artwork featured cross-eyed duck, wearing a leather helmet, staring out over crossed crutches. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wesley Farnsworth)

Becky Thatcher, daughter of the late Doolittle Raider Staff Sgt. David Thatcher, and U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. William Hatten, 28th Maintenance Squadron from Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Ruptured Duck dedicated crew chief, unveil the newest rendition of the Ruptured Duck artwork in front of a crowd during a ceremony, Apr. 17, 2017 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. The original artwork featured cross-eyed duck, wearing a leather helmet, staring out over crossed crutches. (U.S. Air Force photo / Wesley Farnsworth)

Dawn Thatcher, wife of the late Doolittle Raider Staff Sgt. David Thatcher, pours three fingers of Hennessey on the landing gears of the Ruptured Duck B-1 Aircraft, as part of a ceremony for the new Ruptured Duck artwork, Apr. 17, 2017 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. The pouring of the most elite of fluids is a long held superstition, which is said to provide a safe flight for those that serve on the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wesley Farnsworth)

Dawn Thatcher, wife of the late Doolittle Raider Staff Sgt. David Thatcher, pours three fingers of Hennessey on the landing gears of the Ruptured Duck B-1 Aircraft, as part of a ceremony for the new Ruptured Duck artwork, Apr. 17, 2017 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. The pouring of the most elite of fluids is a long held superstition, which is said to provide a safe flight for those that serve on the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo / Wesley Farnsworth)

Members of the 34th Bomb Squadron from Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D. stand in line during an unveiling ceremony for the new Ruptured Duck artwork, Apr. 17, 2017 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.  The 34th BS lineage can be traced to one of the original Doolittle Raider squadrons. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wesley Farnsworth)

Members of the 34th Bomb Squadron from Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D. stand in line during an unveiling ceremony for the new Ruptured Duck artwork, Apr. 17, 2017 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. The 34th BS lineage can be traced to one of the original Doolittle Raider squadrons. (U.S. Air Force photo / Wesley Farnsworth)

U.S. Air Force Col. John Martin, 28th Operations Group commander from Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., addresses a crowd consisting of retired Doolittle Raider, Lt. Col. Dick Cole, along with family and friends of past Doolittle Raiders, during an unveiling ceremony for the new Ruptured Duck artwork, Apr. 17, 2017 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.  The Ruptured Duck history began when pilot Ted Lawson scraped the tail of his B-25 when he pointed the nose of the aircraft too high before takeoff. His aircraft was then chalked with the “Ruptured Duck”, and later the first caricature of the angry duck with crutches was painted on the nose. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wesley Farnsworth)

U.S. Air Force Col. John Martin, 28th Operations Group commander from Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., addresses a crowd consisting of retired Doolittle Raider, Lt. Col. Dick Cole, along with family and friends of past Doolittle Raiders, during an unveiling ceremony for the new Ruptured Duck artwork, Apr. 17, 2017 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. The Ruptured Duck history began when pilot Ted Lawson scraped the tail of his B-25 when he pointed the nose of the aircraft too high before takeoff. His aircraft was then chalked with the “Ruptured Duck”, and later the first caricature of the angry duck with crutches was painted on the nose. (U.S. Air Force photo / Wesley Farnsworth)

Retired Doolittle Raider, Lt. Col. Dick Cole, presents U.S. Air Force Capt. Michael Riddick, 34th Bomb Squadron B-1 pilot, with a coin at the conclusion of an unveiling ceremony for the new Ruptured Duck artwork, Apr. 17, 2017 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.  The 34th Bomb Squadron lineage can be traced to one of the original Doolittle Raider squadrons. (U.S. Air Force photo by Wesley Farnsworth)

Retired Doolittle Raider, Lt. Col. Dick Cole, presents U.S. Air Force Capt. Michael Riddick, 34th Bomb Squadron B-1 pilot, with a coin at the conclusion of an unveiling ceremony for the new Ruptured Duck artwork, Apr. 17, 2017 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. The 34th Bomb Squadron lineage can be traced to one of the original Doolittle Raider squadrons. (U.S. Air Force photo / Wesley Farnsworth)

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio --

The 75th anniversary of the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders was commemorated April 17 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base as a B-1 bomber from Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota, was rechristened the “Ruptured Duck” and its new nose art unveiled in tribute to a B-25 Mitchell bomber that was flown during the Doolittle Raid in 1942.

Ellsworth’s 34th and 37th Bomb Squadrons were the same squadrons selected by Lt. Col. James Doolittle to attack the Japanese homefront with hopes of raising the morale of allied troops during World War II.

Attending the noon ceremony, held along the Wright-Patterson AFB flight line in front of base operations, was Richard E. Cole, a retired lieutenant colonel who served as Doolittle’s co-pilot on Crew Number 1. Cole, now 101 years old, is the sole surviving Doolittle Raider. He was joined by his daughter, along with the wife and family of Sgt. David Thatcher, who flew as the engineer/gunner on the Ruptured Duck. Thatcher died in June 2016.

“Tomorrow (April 18), we will celebrate the anniversary of the Doolittle Raid, when Crew Number 7 took off from the deck of the carrier USS Hornet in their Mitchell B-25B bomber along with the 15 other crews comprising the historic mission to bomb Tokyo and four other Japanese cities in retaliation for Japan’s surprise attack of December 1941 on Pearl Harbor,” said Jeff Thatcher, David Thatcher’s son.

The newly painted Ruptured Duck nose art was revealed by Becky Thatcher, daughter of David Thatcher, and the Ruptured Duck’s dedicated crew chief, Tech. Sgt. William Hatten.

To dispel bad luck, the rear tires of the aircraft were then doused with a shot of Hennessey cognac by Dawn Thatcher, wife of David Thatcher; and her daughter Sandy Thatcher Miller.

“This action commemorates a single plane of 16, which symbolizes all the men of the Doolittle Raid who flew into an unknown fate and who completed their mission with valor,” said emcee Capt. Devin Ivy, 28th Operations Support Squadron, Ellsworth AFB. “The crews will fly in the new Ruptured Duck and carry the legacy of all the Doolittle Raider crews into the future as part of the defense of the United States of America.”

“It is with sincere gratitude that I stand before you today accepting this christening of the new Ruptured Duck,” said Col. John Martin, commander, 28th Operations Group, Ellsworth AFB. “What a privilege to stand with the wife and family of Sgt. David Thatcher, (Lt.) Col. Dick Cole and his family – two bomber legends and heroes from an epic point in American wartime folklore.”

The new Ruptured Duck’s nose art is like an icon that remains connective tissue between the Doolittle Raid and its professional posterity, he said.

“They connect past with present and present with future,” Martin commented.

Today’s modern Raiders of the 34th and 37th Bomb Squadrons proudly continue that legacy of leadership, he said.

“On the wings of aircraft like the new Ruptured Duck, the 34th and 37th Bomb Squadrons continue to write their own chapters in our nation’s history, leading with valor and punctuating their mark with the emblems of the Raider,” Martin said.

The ceremony concluded with an exchange of gifts, including flags flown during David Thatcher’s memorial service, lithographs of the aircraft and specially engraved bottles of Hennessey.

The 75th anniversary of the Doolittle Tokyo Raid is being commemorated with various events April 17 and April 18. For more information, go to www.nationalmuseum.af.mil, www.wpafb.af.mil, www.facebook.com/WPAFB or www.facebook.com/AFMuseum.