A man in uniform is smiling for the camera.


Hailing from Plymouth, Iowa, Leland Faktor was born on May 17, 1921; after high school graduation, at the age of 19, Leland enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps on August 9, 1940. Leland was a quiet, well liked guy and volunteered for a secret mission, knowing only that it was a vital mission with great risk and that survival chances were remote. Leland wrote home “They told us we would be either heroes or in heaven when it was all over.â€

Known as the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders, Leland was assigned as engineer/gunner on ship #3 – “Whiskey Pete;†successfully bombing industrial areas of Tokyo before proceeding on to China. Leland became the first casualty of the raid when he bailed out at night over Mountainous terrain in China when the plane ran out of fuel. His sacrifice as well as the efforts of all 80 Doolittle Tokyo Raiders gave the United States a valuable moral boost and changed the outcome of World War II.

Originally interred at Wan Tseun, China, Corporal Leland Dale Faktor was brought back home; on April 25, 1949, he was buried in the Bohemian Cemetery in Plymouth, Iowa. Faktor Hall at Chanute AFB, Rantoul, IL (where he trained as an airplane mechanic) is named after him. Leland’s decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart, Chinese Breast Order of Yung Hui and Congressional Gold Medal (awarded May 23, 2014).

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