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Smith: Goblets and a piece of Jimmy's B-25

Marian Mapes was there Saturday, in a museum hangar in Ohio, when three of the four surviving Doolittle Tokyo Raiders uncorked a bottle of 117-year-old cognac and for the last time together toasted their departed comrades.

Mapes, a Santa Rosan and niece to a Raider who died more than a decade ago, can't easily pick a greatest moment of the historic occasion.

It was mighty for her to don cotton gloves and touch the silver goblets etched with the names of all 80 aviators who stunned the world 14 weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor by flying 16 B-25 bombers off an aircraft carrier and raiding Japan.

Mapes examined the goblet bearing the name of her late uncle, navigator Clayton Campbell. And because she knew and loved Frank Kappeler of Santa Rosa, also a Raider navigator, she picked up and admired his goblet too.

"They're lovely," she said. "They're not very big."

Mapes feels fortunate to have been present when a Chinese man approached 98-year-old Richard Cole, who'd been co-pilot to raid leader Jimmy Doolittle, and handed him something.

The man had traveled from China, where most of the fuel-exhausted bombers crashed or crash-landed. He gave Cole a broken piston ring from the wreckage of his and Doolittle's plane.

Japanese occupiers made the Chinese suffer terribly for having assisted the Americans in 1942, yet this man traveled half-way around the world for his last chance to thank the Raiders and return that shard of history.

Mapes found the entire final reunion "very moving, very moving.

"It inspired me to be a better me," she said.


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