Doolittle Raider Nolan Herndon laid to rest - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Doolittle Raider Nolan Herndon laid to rest

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The last member of the Doolittle Raiders from South Carolina was laid to rest Wednesday.

Nolan Herndon became a hero to many for being one of the first Americans to bomb Japan in April of 1942.

Herndon died Sunday at the age of 88.

Inside Edgefield United Methodist Church Wednesday, there was a tribute to the hero.

Herndon was a Texas native. He enlisted on July 27, 1940, after attending two years of college.

A young Nolan Herndon came to Columbia at the beginning of World War II to train for a task so dangerous - some called it a suicide mission.

He was commissioned as a second lieutenant about a year later and was a navigator in one of the most daring air raids in American history.

The raid involved 16 B-25 bombers that took off from an aircraft carrier and bombed Tokyo on April 18, 1942.

WIS spoke with Herndon at Owens Field on Veteran's Day in 2000. The Edgefield native said he clung to his faith during the dangerous raids. "I think I wore out the 23rd Psalm flying in those three hours. I just kept going over and over it."

The raid was planned by Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Doolittle. The raids turned the tide in favor of America.

Herndon's plane landed in Russia. He was a POW. When he came home, he married a woman a fellow Raider set him up with, had children, and worked in the grocery business.

People at the funeral included members of the Celebrate Freedom Foundation.

There were 80 Doolittle Raiders. Only 12 are alive now.

Reported by Jennifer Wilson

Posted by Bryce Mursch

Copyright 2007 Raycom Media. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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