Born in Green Bay, Wis., he joined the military after graduating from the University of Alabama in 1939. Mr. Griffin and the rest of his crew bailed out of their plane over China after the raid, and he went on to serve as a navigator in North Africa for the next 12 months. In 1943, Mr. Griffin was shot down by Nazi soldiers and was kept in a German prisoner-of-war camp for 22 months. He and fellow prisoners attempted to escape by digging underground tunnels, but their captors discovered the routes and flooded them. Mr. Griffin was set free when the Allies liberated Europe in 1945. Mr. Griffin, 95, lives in Cincinnati.
Born and raised on a Montana cattle ranch, Mr. Saylor, 92, signed up for the military in 1939 as a 19-year-old. He was 22 at the time of Doolittle's Tokyo Raid. His plane, the second-to-last B-25 off the deck of the USS Hornet, crashed in the waters off the China coast, and the five crew members boarded life rafts to make it ashore. With the help of a young Chinese guide, the men walked more than 100 miles across the countryside, scrounging for whatever food they could find before eventually being rescued. He served for the remainder of World War II and after the war worked as an aircraft maintenance officer. Mr. Saylor lives in Puyallup, Wash., and regularly accepts invitations to speak about the raid before high school assemblies, civic organizations and other groups.
Mr. Cole's B-25 bomber, piloted by Lt. Col. James Doolittle, was the first aircraft to take off from the deck of USS Hornet that morning, and his crew safely bailed out over China after the mission and were soon rescued. Born in Dayton, Ohio, Mr. Cole said that as a teenager, he decided he would become either a military pilot or a forest ranger. He chose the former and enlisted in November 1940, more than a year before Pearl Harbor. He continued his service after the Doolittle mission, returning to active duty in 1947. Mr. Cole served until 1967, when he retired as a lieutenant colonel. Mr. Cole, 96, lives in Comfort, Texas, where he previously worked in the construction business after retiring from the military.
A Texas native, Mr. Hite joined the military as a 20-year-old in September 1940. His plane, the last off of the USS Hornet during Doolittle's Tokyo Raid, went down in Japanese-controlled Chinese territory, and he and his entire crew were taken captive. He was one of eight raiders to be captured by the Japanese in the immediate aftermath of the mission. Three were executed by firing squad, and another died of malnutrition, but Mr. Hite survived more than three years in a prison camp, nearly all of that time spent in solitary confinement. He was freed in August 1945, as the war came to a close. He would go on to serve in the Korean War. Mr. Hite, 92, lives in Nashville, Tenn.
A lifelong Montana resident, Mr. Thatcher was fascinated with flight from an early age. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps in December 1940 and was just 20 years old at the time of the raid. Mr. Thatcher's plane crashed into waist-deep water off the Chinese coast after the bombing, and he later was awarded the Silver Star and other honors for pulling four injured crew mates from the wreckage of the plane. He was discharged from active duty in the summer of 1945. Mr. Thatcher, 91, lives in Missoula, Mont.
On April 19, see new video and stories from the celebration at U.S. Air Force Museum at Wright Patterson Air Force Base marking the 70th anniversary of the Doolittle Raid and video from inside a restored B-25B bomber.