|Birth: ||Sep. 7, 1917|
|Death: ||Nov. 18, 2006|
11/21/2006 News Item
William L. Birch
1917 ~ 2006
Veteran United States Army Air Forces, Doolittle Raider, Friend of many
It is with sadness that we note the passing of Doolittle Raider William L. Birch. Mr. Birch was born in Calexico, California on September 7, 1917 and graduated from Kern County High School in 1935. He joined the United States Army Air Force in September 1939, trained as a bombardier, and by 1942 was a Staff Sergeant in the 34th Bomb Squadron. When the squadron was asked, Mr. Birch was among those who volunteered for the Tokyo Raid. He took part in the Raid as the bombardier of the #11 aircraft flown by Capt. Ross Greening. Their aircraft made a bomb run on an oil refinery and attacked a patrol boat headed out of Tokyo Bay to the China Sea. The crew bailed out at night over China and were assisted by Chinese villagers. After the raid Birch went through pilot training, received his wings and commission as an officer in June 1943, and flew B-24s. He left the Air Force in 1945 and was married in 1947. He worked with his father in his butcher shop and did machinist work until becoming a commercial helicopter instructor in 1964. In the late '60s he was forced to retire as a result of a crash which broke his back.
According to those who knew him, Mr. Birch was known as one of the sweetest men. He lived in Santa Ana, California until October 1st of this year, then moved to Temecula staying with his grandson & family until his death. Mr. Birch passed away on Saturday, November 18, 2006. He was preceded in death by his wife. He enjoyed writing poetry, and enjoyed taking care of stray animals along with his wife. He was proud to be an American.
Some quotes from his journal reflect his feelings about having been a member of the Doolittle Raiders and their place in history:
"Of all the accolades that our group has received over the years, the one I treasure most is in the statement made by Admiral William F. "Bull" Halsey at the time, "In my opinion, their flight was one of the most courageous deeds in military history." - "I felt proud that I had met the enemy and prevailed. In some small way our group had helped avenge that infamous Sunday, Dec 7 1941. I was certain that our group had paved the way and our America would rise like the Phoenix from the ashes of defeat and despair and ultimately gain victory over the oppressors of the world".
Cremated, Location of ashes is unknown.
Maintained by: Russ Jacobs
Originally Created by: Loren Bender
Record added: Sep 07, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 41659551
Thinking of you on this Memorial Day week-end.|
Added: May. 25, 2014
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Added: Dec. 6, 2013
Added: Nov. 11, 2013
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