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1972 Horatio Alger Award Winner

James H. Doolittle*

Aviator & Insurance Company Executive

"Your greatest contribution and your greatest reward come from serving your fellow man, your country, and your God."

Born in California in 1896, James H. Doolittle was the son of a carpenter. During World War I, he joined the Army Signal Corps and served as a flight instructor. In 1922, he earned his bachelor's degree. He went on to receive the first-ever aeronautical engineering degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Doolittle gained early fame for his experiments in flight. He was a pioneer of instrument flying and was the first pilot to fly solo, nonstop across the United States. He entered World War II as a major in the Army Air Corps. He led the first carrier-based bombing squad over Tokyo in 1942, for which he was later awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Later in the war, he commanded the Eighth Air Force, which was key to defeating the Nazis. Doolittle played a major role in shaping the armed services and national aviation policy. In 1985, he was made a four-star general.

* Deceased