2011 Doolittle Award Ceremony

The Air Force Historical Foundation today bestowed its inaugural James H. “Jimmy” Doolittle Award upon USAF’s 4th Fighter Wing, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina – expanding the list of accolades for one of the world’s most distinguished fighter units.

Named after aviation pioneer James H. Doolittle, the Foundation’s latest award was established to recognize a unit that has displayed bravery, determination, discipline, “esprit de corps” and superior management of joint operations in multiple conflicts – all of which are qualities exemplified by the 4th Fighter Wing since its formation in 1942.

The 4th Fighter Wing rose to prominence during World War II, and achieved a number of key military milestones throughout this conflict – which earned it the motto: “Fourth But First.” Originally designated The 4th Fighter Group, it was the first such unit to use belly tanks on its combat aircraft; the first to penetrate Germany; the first to accompany bombers to Berlin; the first to complete the England-to-Russia shuttle; and the first to down jet fighters. Recent operations for the 4th Fighter Wing include deployments to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The Foundation’s 2011 Doolittle Award was presented at the Air Force Memorial in Arlington, Virginia, providing a picturesque backdrop that includes many of the high-profile monuments and governmental buildings in the nation’s capital.

Congratulations from USAF’s Assistant Vice Chief of Staff

The morning ceremony included comments from Lieutenant General Richard Y. Newton III, Assistant Vice Chief of Staff for the U.S. Air Force, who offered his congratulations and gratitude to the 4th Fighter Wing airmen in attendance.

“Thank you for your service, the countless deployments as well as for making sure the home fires stay burning,” Lt. Gen. Newton said. “Also, on behalf of [Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton A. Schwartz] and myself, please go back and thank your families – because they’re serving right along with you on those deployments.”

Accepting the Air Force Historical Foundation’s recognition was Colonel Patrick J. Doherty, commander of the 4th Fighter Wing – an assignment that Lt. Gen. Newton stated “probably is the best job in the U.S. Air Force.”

During his speech, Colonel Doherty – who assumed command of the unit in 2010 – underscored significant historical contributions of the unit, and emphasized the importance of teamwork.

The ceremony was followed by a luncheon held at the nearby Army Navy Country Club, which was highlighted by a keynote address from former 4th Fighter Wing member General Charles A. Horner (USAF Ret.) Speaking before a capacity crowd, General Horner discussed his time with the 4th Fighter Wing, as well as his experience leading U.S. Central Command Air Forces during operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield.

  • Read congratulation letters sent to the 4th Fighter Wing by members of the United States Congress (PDF 490 KB.)
  • For additional information on the Doolittle Award ceremony and luncheon, review the event’s brochure (PDF1.22 MB.)

The photo report below showcases some of the event’s highlights (click on the images for a larger version):

The 2011 Doolittle Award ceremony opened with a traditional Presentation of Colors by the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard. Standing at the podium is the event’s master of ceremonies, broadcaster Doug Hill of ABC7/WJLA-TV and WTOP-FM.
The Air Force Historical Foundation’s inaugural Doolittle Award is presented by Lieutenant General Richard Y. Newton III, Assistant Vice Chief of Staff for the U.S. Air Force (at left). Accepting on behalf of the 4th Fighter Wing is the unit’s commander, Colonel Patrick J. Doherty – whose active duty experiences include operations Provide Comfort, Northern Watch, Southern Watch, Noble Eagle, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
During his acceptance speech at the Air Force Memorial, Colonel Doherty underscored the 4th Fight Wing’s significant contributions to U.S. air power:
“We are proud to be from the 4th Fighter Wing,” he said. “We talk about the importance of our history, and the standards that have been set in all of our nation’s conflicts up to this point – and that compels us to higher limits and motivates us each and every day.”
Awarding of the Air Force Historical Foundation’s 2011 Doolittle Award was marked by a special flyover of F-15s piloted by a team from the 336th Fighter Squadron, 4th Fighter Wing.  This group recently returned from an eight-month deployment to Bagram, Afghanistan, where it broke numerous flight-time records.
During his keynote speech at the Doolittle Award luncheon, General Charles A. Horner (USAF Ret.) discussed with pride his experiences as a member of the 4th Fighter Wing and congratulated the unit: “We have the people, organizations and military capability, and because we come from a free society, we have individuals capable of making wise decisions – capable of putting everything in their heart and soul into getting the job done. And that’s why you’re a unit of excellence.”

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