Following the World War II victory in Europe over Germany, but before the surrender of Japan, Gen. George S. Patton Jr. and Lt. Gen. James Doolittle arrived at Los Angeles Municipal Airport for a welcome home tour.
Writer Walter Cochane reported in the June 10, 1945, Los Angeles Times:
George Patton and Jimmy Doolittle came home to Los Angeles yesterday – and Los Angeles took them to her arms.
From the split second that their C-54 Skymaster planes – three of them – roared over the Municipal Airport, they were given thunderous welcomes in the style to which only conquerors are accustomed.
As Gen. George S. Patton's plane rolled to a stop at the airport, scores of civic officials led by Mayor [Fletcher] Bowron, Army generals and the enlisted men right on down to the buck privates went to the side of the ship and welcomed him home.
Attired in shiny steel helmet and bearing the four stars of his high rank, polished boots and a studded pistol, the leader of America's victorious 3rd Army stepped from the plane and snapped his salute to the "old home town.”
"On his face was the grim grin of the conqueror….
After only a brief stop at the airport–until all the heroes could climb into command cars and jeeps provided for each one–there began the journey to Pico Blvd. and Broadway….
Strung all along the line – over the highways to City Hall – it was estimated that 1,000,000 persons – the occupants of the homes for which the generals and their men fought – waved their shouts of greetings to the soldiers.
Both generals had strong ties to Southern California. Patton was born Nov. 11, 1885, in San Marino. Doolittle was born Dec. 14, 1896, in Alameda, near Oakland, but grew up in Los Angeles.
On June 10, the generals toured several cities around Southern California. During the visit Patton gave several speeches, believed to be the only time he addressed large numbers of American civilians. The Times reported that Patton's speeches were "peppered with profanity -- but mild to those who soldiered with him."
Patton was injured in a Dec. 9, 1945, vehicle accident near Mannheim, Germany. He died from his injures on Dec. 21.
Doolittle died on Sep. 27, 1993, at the age of 96. Here is the link to the Los Angeles Times' 1993 Gen. James Doolittle obituary.
This post was originally published on June 9, 2012.