Medal, Medal of Honor, James H. Doolittle


Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

Collection Item Summary:

The Medal of Honor was instituted in 1861 and is awarded for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty in action involving actual with opposing armed forces. It is the highest military honor awarded in the United States. This medal was presented to James H. Doolittle for leading the flight of B-25 bombers on the first aerial attack on Japan during World War II.

Citation: For conspicuous leadership above the call of duty, involving personal valor and intrepidity at the extreme hazard to life. With the apparent certainty of being forced to land in enemy territory or to perish at sea, General Doolittle personally led a squadron of Army bombers, manned by volunteer crews, in a highly destructive raid on the Japanese mainland.

Collection Item Long Description:

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum

Restrictions & Rights

Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum

Credit Line

Donated by Lt. Gen. James H. Doolittle (USAF, Ret.)


  • Medal - Bronze
  • Ribbon - Silk


2-D - Unframed (H x W): 7.6 × 3.8cm (3 in. × 1 1/2 in.)

Country of Origin

United States of America

Physical Description

  • The Medal of Honor (Army version). A gold five-pointed star, each point tipped with trefoils, surrounded by a green laurel wreath and suspended from a gold bar inscribed VALOR, surmounted by an eagle. In the center of the star is Minerva’s head surrounded by the words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. On each ray of the star is a green oak leaf. On the reverse is a bar engraved THE CONGRESS TO with a space for engraving the name of the recipient.
  • NOTE: During the Second World War the American land-based air forces, the U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF), were part of the U.S. Army. Therefore James Doolittle was awarded the Army version of the Medal of Honor.


AWARDS-Medals & Ribbons

Inventory Number