Remembering Doolittle’s legacy

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Ethan Sherwood
  • 17th Training Wing Public Affairs

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas-- Goodfellow hosted a Doolittle Leadership Panel led by John “Pepe” Soto, senior defense analyst, and General Jimmy Doolittle’s granddaughter, Jonna Doolittle Hoppes, The Doolittle Foundation founder and executive director, at the Powell Event Center, Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, Feb. 25.

The goal was to educate people about leadership while using aviation pioneer and Air Force legend Jimmy Doolittle’s story as an example. 

Doolittle was an avid scholar who led the way when it came to change. He was a huge asset to the Allies during WWII leading by example and constantly learning more about leadership. 

“Doolittle is the springboard,” said Hoppes. “A lot of people who won’t open up about themselves hear grandad’s story and that opens the door and they’ll share their story.”

Just as Doolittle himself is a great example of an Airmen, the Doolittle Tokyo Raid is a great example of what the Air Force is all about. Solving problems and overcoming challenges in new and creative ways is what keeps the Air Force ahead of adversaries. 

“First of all leadership is complex and hard,” said Soto. “Secondly Jimmy Doolittle embodied all of the great things about being an Airmen. He embodied leadership itself.”

Soto and Hoppes shared their top 10 leadership lessons learned by leaders throughout history. 

  1. You should never stop learning how to lead. 

  2. Leadership is not necessarily for everyone.

  3. Leadership can be hard and lonely.

  4. You can’t be a good leader without being a good follower.

  5. Empathetic leadership is essential.

  6. We need  to look at leadership from a team perspective.

  7. Leadership is a human endeavor.

  8. Leadership is based on trust.

  9. You must always lead by example. 

  10. There is no cookie-cutter approach to leadership.

These lessons help create better Airmen, better leaders and ultimately a better total force. These leaders can go on to share their stories to inspire the next generation of Airmen. 

“The one thing I want people to take away is how important every story is,” said Hoppes. “How important it is to make sure your story is recorded. So that we record our history, we understand our history and we realize how much people here sacrifice.”