Fallen Doolittle Raider Learned To Fly Right Where We Take Off And Land Today

William Farrow, a Doolittle Raider executed by Japanese, learned to fly at Owens Field while a student at USC. Farrow was inducted into the SCAA Hall Of Fame in 2006.

Memorial Day, falling within the 70th anniversary of the Doolittle Raiders, affords us a time to recall the enduring legacy of William Farrow. One of three South Carolinians who became Doolittle Raiders, Farrow, along with two other airmen, was executed by the Japanese October 15, 1942. Farrow learned to fly at Owens Field while a student at USC.

After saving his meager post-Depression earnings and having them matched, dollar for dollar, by a supportive aunt, the Darlington native entered USC to study Civil Engineering. In Fall 1939 he was selected by the Civil Aeronautics Authority for air training. He wrote home: “I soloed Sunday. On my first landing, I bounced about eight feet, but the next two were perfect three-pointers. We take a 100-mile trip alone soon.”

The next year he interrupted his studies to enlist at Fort Jackson, then take flight training at Kelly Field, TX, where he received a Second Lieutenant commission in July 1941. Less than six months later, Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese and American was plunged into a war the nation had wanted to sit out. Soon after, Farrow was a B-25 pilot among those from Oregon who were moved to Columbia Army Air Base to continue their combat training.

During his time at USC, Farrow was searching for purpose and meaning and found much of it in his spiritual explorations. He called the personal creed he wrote for himself My Future. After his execution by the Japanese in October 1942, his mother found the creed in a trunk her son had brought home from Carolina. His words, poignant and more powerful under the tragic circumstances, made it into the public domain and swept the nation, through publication in various media. As a Blue Star Mother, Mrs. Farrow was asked to address the nation. When she read the creed on the Blue Network, her message was called Mother Courageous.

Nationwide, newspapers as well as church bulletins published it. When Franklin D. Roosevelt learned of it, the American president praised it as an example to the nation, calling it An American Creed for Victory.

January 27, 1943, USC President J. Rion McKissick used Farrow’s creed instead of his own words in his farewell message to the winter graduating class. When McKissick requested that all members of the graduating class who were entering service to rise, nearly every man rose to his feet.

Farrow’s Creed – as applicable and purposeful today as it was 70 years ago

Note: This is the tenet that has been pulled out and used most often:

Fear not for the future – build on each day as though the future for me is a certainty. If I die tomorrow, that is too bad, but I will have done today’s work.

1. Stay in glowing health – take a good, fast one-hour workout each day.
2. Search our current, past, and future topics on aviation.
3. Work hard on each day’s lessons – shoot for an “A”.
4. Stay close to God – do His will, obey His commandments. He is my friend and protector. Believe in Him – trust in His ways – not in my own confused understanding of the universe.
5. Do not waste energy or time in fruitless pursuits – learn to act from honest fundamental motives – simplicity in life leads to the fullest living. Order my life – in order, there is achievement, in aimlessness, there is retrogression.
6. Fear nothing – be it insanity, sickness, failure – always be upright – look the world in the eye.
7. Keep my mind always clean – allow no evil thoughts to destroy me. My mind is my very own, to think and use just as I do my arms. It was given me by the Creator to use as I see fit, but to think wrong is to do wrong.
8 Concentrate! Choose the task to be done, and do it to the best of my ability.
9. Fear not for the future – build on each day as though the future for me is a certainty. If I die tomorrow, that is too bad, but I will have done today’s work.
10. Never be discouraged over anything. Turn failure into success.

Submitted by The South Carolina Historic Aviation Foundation

About sheltr

2009 EAA Young Eagles Coordinator Of The Year.
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One Response to Fallen Doolittle Raider Learned To Fly Right Where We Take Off And Land Today

  1. William Prye says:

    True American, true hero, as all were on this mission, none of them thought they would ever get home

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