‘Flaps’ Berry, Doolittle Raiders honored in Oregon

Flaps Berry will be remembered during Spirit of '45 Day

Benny "Flaps" Berry in an undated photo provided by Oregon Spirit of '45. He died in Portland in 2013.
Benny "Flaps" Berry in an undated photo provided by Oregon Spirit of '45. He died in Portland in 2013.

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — On April 18, 1942 — just 4 months after the attack on Pearl Harbor — the Doolittle Raiders flew B-25 bombers over Tokyo and served notice “a sleeping giant had been awakened.”

Now 75 years later, the Oregon Spirit of ’45 will honor the Doolittle Raiders, including those from Oregon who took part in the missions.

The second Sunday of every August is the Congressionally-endorsed Spirit of ’45 Day, and the event will be held beginning at 11 a.m. at the Willamette National Cemetery.

The granddaughter of Gen. James Doolittle, Jonna Doolittle Hoppes, will be at the event along with Ben Berry.

Berry is the son of “Flaps” Berry, whose given name was Benny. Flaps Berry was one of the first African-American pilots in the US Army Air Corps, flew a B-25 bomber in World War 2, held a degree in aeronautical engineering from USC and worked for the Apollo, Space Shuttle and Space Station programs.

Flaps Berry was also an engineer who worked in Nigeria and Saudi Arabia, wrote 3 books and 2 screenplays, including “Tuskegee Airmen: To the Moon, Mars and Beyond.”

He died September 30, 2013 in Portland.

The ceremony will be held in the Assembly Area near the flagpole. All military branches will be honored, including the 152,000 Oregonians who served. About 4000 Oregonians died in the war.

Photos courtesy Oregon Spirit of '45
Photos courtesy Oregon Spirit of ’45