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Edward J. Saylor honored on Enumclaw’s Walk of Fame

 Sgt. Edward Saylor, flight engineer, far right, with the crew of plane No. 15, “TNT.,” from left, pilot Lt. Donald Smith, co-pilot Lt. Griffith Williams, bombardier Lt. Howard Sessler and flight surgeon Lt. Thomas White.  - Courtesy photo
Sgt. Edward Saylor, flight engineer, far right, with the crew of plane No. 15, “TNT.,” from left, pilot Lt. Donald Smith, co-pilot Lt. Griffith Williams, bombardier Lt. Howard Sessler and flight surgeon Lt. Thomas White.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Edward J. Saylor – one of the dwindling few who actively participated in the famed Doolittle Toyko Raid – will be honored as the sixth person enshrined in Enumclaw’s Walk of Fame.

Saylor will be featured during an hour-long reception beginning at 10:30 a.m. July 4 at Enumclaw City Hall. He will be given a ceremonial key to the city and the plaque bearing his name will be unveiled. The public is invited to attend the ceremony, meet the 2013 honoree and hear stories of the Doolittle Raid.

Later on the Fourth, Saylor will ride through the annual Stars and Stripes parade as grand marshal.

The plaque engraved with Saylor’s name will join five others at the corner of Griffin Avenue and First Street.

Saylor, who retired from the U.S. Air Force with the rank of lieutenant colonel, recently related some of his adventures to members of the Enumclaw Rotary Club and had his tales chronicled in a three-part series in The Courier-Herald.

Saylor was fresh out of high school in 1939, living in the rural outpost of Jordan, Mont., when he was struck by a U.S. Army recruiting poster. He joined Uncle Sam and, three years later, was a 22-year-old sergeant, stationed in South Carolina and supporting the Army Air Force effort as a flight engineer.

One day. Lt. Col. James “Jimmy” Doolittle appeared on base, seeking volunteers for a top-secret mission. Saylor opted in and – without knowing where he was headed or what he would be doing – shipped out.

He had become one of the military men, roughly 80 strong, who would make up the Doolittle Raid. The famous attack on Japan was intended to punish the Japanese for the bombing of Pearl Harbor, strike at the heart of the Japanese war effort and, in the process, boost American morale.

The plane carrying Saylor successfully completed its bombing run but the pilot had to ditch the plane in the China Sea, not far from shore. Saylor made it to land, avoided capture by Japanese pursuers, survived a harrowing journey to freedom and eventually returned to the States.

Through the years, the number of Doolittle Raiders has diminished due to illness, age and misfortune. When Saylor recounted his experiences for local Rotarians, he was one of just four who remained.

The decorated group had reunited each year but, with their number depleted, 2013 brought the final get-together.

 

Other members of Enumclaw Walk of Fame, and their year of induction, are:

• Kasey Kahne – NASCAR driver

• Brian Scalabrine – Basketball player

• Linda Petchnick – Artist

• Bob Charlo – Photographer

• Charles Berg – Local historian

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