Pendleton celebrates the Doolittle raiders 75 years later

Only remnants remain of the bustling Army base at the Pendleton airport during World War II, but organizers are looking to revive the spirit for a day.

The Oregon National Guard and the Pendleton Air Museum are sponsoring the Doolittle Raiders Gala April 29 at the National Guard Armory.

The gala is in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Doolittle Raids.

Led by Lt. Col. James Doolittle and featuring a group of soldiers stationed in Pendleton, the 80 members of the Army Air Corps’ 17th Bombardment Squadron, the “Doolittle Raiders,” flew a one-way bombing mission to Japan in response to the Pearl Harbor attacks, boosting American morale. All the planes landed in hostile territory. Eight men were killed in action or executed as prisoners of war, while many others were tortured and starved throughout the length of the war.

Armondo Borboa was researching the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor when he learned that the Doolittle Raiders were also celebrating their diamond jubilee.

“It takes a special kind of bravery to know that you’re not coming back to safety,” Borboa said about the Doolittle mission.

Borboa is a staff sergeant with the Oregon National Guard 3-116 CAV Battalion based in La Grande and is the unit’s public affairs representative.

Over the course of his research, Borboa also learned that the 3-116 is in the same brigade as the Bravo Company, 168 Aviation Regiment, which occupies the Pendleton National Guard Armory.

These connections spurred Borboa to begin planning an event to commemorate

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