A man in an army uniform standing next to a plane.


C. Ross Greening was born in Carroll, Iowa on November 12, 1914, enlisting in the U.S. Army Air Corps on June 23, 1936. Originally a pursuit fighter pilot, he transferred to bombers, ultimately a B-25 Mitchell pilot; his posts included Commander of the 19th Air Base Squadron and Provost Marshal with the 17th Bomb Group before volunteering for Doolittle’s secret mission. Originally involved only in the planning stage of the Doolittle Tokyo Raid, Ross “wrangled†his way into the pilot’s seat of the 11th B-25, “Hari-Karier.â€

Ross is credited with designing the “Mark Twain†bombsight used on the Doolittle Mission plus he ingeniously installed two broomstick handles in the tail gunner’s positions of the bomber to deter enemy fighter attacks from the rear. Though under attack from Japanese fighters, Greening’s B-25 successfully bombed their targets, an oil refinery and storage area. Out of fuel, the 5 man crew bailed out 200 miles inland of the China coast. Greening then served as bomber pilot in Algeria, shot down and captured by the Germans, escaped and recaptured after 6 months of evasion.

After the war Greening held many pilot, director and staff positions beginning with Chief of the Army Air Forces Prisoner of War Exposition and culminating as Air Attach’e to Australia and New Zealand. Health issues forced his return to the states and he passed away at Walter Reed Army Hospital on March 29, 1957. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Colonel Charles Ross Greening’s decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart, Silver Star, Air Medal with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters, Chinese Breast Order of Yung Hui and Congressional Gold Medal (awarded May 23, 2014).

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