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Bedford Cadets Attend Congressional Gold Medal Presentation
Updated May 4, 2015 5:35 PM
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Cadet Airman Stephen Arnold and Cadet Airman Timothy Arnold at the National Museum of the Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, OH with retired Col. Kenneth Hite. Hite’s brother, Robert Hite, was copilot of the 16th aircraft in the Doolittle Raid.

(UNDATED) - Two Bedford cadets from the Civil Air Patrol attended the presentation of the Congressional Gold Medal by the last two surviving members of the Doolittle Raiders to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.

The medal was presented to the museum by Lt. Col Richard Cole and SSGT David Thatcher at a ceremony in Dayton, Ohio on April 18th. The Raiders were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for their role in an extremely dangerous mission to bomb Japan after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Although the attack did minimal damage to Japanese targets, the raid boosted morale of Americans by casting doubt on the invulnerability of the Japanese mainland.

Sixteen B-25 Mitchell bombers took off from the deck of the USS Hornet on April 18th, 1942. Although most of them made it to targets in Japan, all sixteen planes were lost subsequent to the raid, with most of them crashing in China. Three of the 80 American crewmen were killed in action, and eight of them were captured by the Japanese. Only four of these survived their captivity, and of these four, the last survivor, Robert L. Hite, died on March 29, 2015.

After attending the ceremony, Civil Air Patrol cadets Stephen and Timothy Arnold had an opportunity to meet with Kenneth Hite, the younger brother of Robert Hite. Kenneth Hite was also a pilot in the Air Force. "We had a good visit with him," said Stephen Arnold. Timothy Arnold added that Col. Hite had over 90 combat missions during his 31 years in the Air Force. "He flew F-86's in Korea and also was in Vietnam," said Arnold
The Congressional Gold metal dates back to March 1776 when George Washington was presented the first medal. The Civil Air Patrol received a Congressional Gold Medal in 2014 for the service of over 150,000 Civil Air Patrol members in WW II. There have been 158 medals presented since 1776. All of the Congressional Gold Medals are in the Smithsonian Museum except for the Doolittle Raiders Medal. It will be on display next to the 80 silver goblets of the Doolittle Raiders.

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