Tigers: Tracking a Legend
Air Zoo Science Innovation Hall of Fame Awards
Subscribe to AirMail E-News
Get News & Events RSS
Register Group Tours
Book Air Zoo Facilities
Support the Air Zoo
High on Kalamazoo Balloon Festival
Become a Volunteer
Jack A. Sims
Doolittle Tokyo raider, a native of Kalamazoo, Michigan and the only Michigan native on the raider rolls, Jack Sims was born in 1919.
Colonel Sims enlisted as an Aviation Cadet in November, 1940 and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant and Pilot in the U.S. Army Air Corps the following year.
After flying as co-pilot on B-25 Mitchell medium bombers assigned to submarine patrol and war maneuvers, he volunteered (along with 79 other flight crewmen) for an unknown mission to be led by the veteran pilot and air pioneer Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle. Colonel Sims flew as copilot with Major John Hilger, who was second in command to Doolittle. It turned out to be a "one-way" mission to bomb the Japanese home islands with the city of Nagoya as Sims' target area.
After an arduous 3 month journey, he made it back to the United States and was reassigned to the 320th Bomb Group, United States 12th Air Force, North Africa, as 1st Pilot on B-26 Marauder medium bombers. He successfully completed 40 bombing missions as Squadron Commander of the 444th Bomb Squadron.
He returned to the U.S. and was reassigned as Air Operations Officer and Inspector, Air Transport Command, Ferrying Division. Subsequent Air Force assignments followed: Chief, Contracts Fraud Branch, HQ., USAF, Washington, D.C.; Air Force Liaison, GHQ FEAF (MacArthur's Staff) where he flew as 1st pilot on a B-29 Superfortress bombing mission; Air Command and Staff College first as student then as faculty; Chief, U.S. House of Representatives Liaison Office, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, Washington D.C.; Office of the Air Attach , American Embassy, London, England as Chief, USAF/RAF Exchange Program; Executive Assistant to the Deputy Chief of Staff, USAF, HQs, Washington, D.C.
Colonel Sims retired as a full Colonel with a Command Pilot rating after 28 years of continuous Air Force service. He is the co-author of his biography, First Over Japan- an autobiography of a Doolittle Tokyo Raider.
Col. Sims was enshrined in the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame on October 11, 2003.