It is not generally known that John Birch (left), a Christian missionary in China from 1940-45, led Doolittle and many other survivors of the Tokyo raid back to safety after they had been forced to parachute from their bombers behind Japanese lines on the China mainland. See the 10-minute video, The Adventures of Captain John Birch (also posted at the bottom of this article) for a brief account of John Birch's role in rescuing Doolittle's Raiders.
When Robert Welch created The John Birch Society* at a two-day meeting in December 1958 (transcript available as The Blue Book of The John Birch Society), he explained why he chose John Birch as the namesake of the new organization as follows:
In fact, as will become more clear tomorrow, the young man I admire most of all of those America has produced was a fundamentalist Baptist missionary named John Birch. My own obsession with this fight against the increasing forces of evil in the world, which — as already explained — has caused me to give up business career and income and any prospect of ever having any peace or leisure again during my lifetime, is due in large part to my admiration for John Birch; to my feeling that I simply had to pick up and carry, to the utmost of my ability and energy, the torch of a humane righteousness which he was carrying so well and so faithfully when the Communists struck him down.
This article was originally published at JBS.org and is reprinted here with permission.
*To learn more about The John Birch Society, go to "Discover The John Birch Society."
*To learn why and how to join the JBS, go to "Why Join JBS?"