Waldo Bither was born on October 31, 1906, in Houlton, Maine. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on January 27, 1925, and served in the Coast Artillery Corps in the Philippines from 1925 until he joined the Army Air Corps as an aircraft armorer in 1928. His next assignment was as an armorer with the 90th Attack Squadron at Fort Crockett, Texas, from 1928 to February 1935, and then with the 90th Attack Squadron at Barksdale Field, Louisiana, from February 1935 to February 1940. MSgt Bither served with the 37th Bomb Squadron at Barksdale Field, Louisiana, from February to July 1940, at Lowry Field, Colorado, from July 1940 to June 1941, and then at Pendleton Army Air Field, Oregon, from June 1941 until he was selected for the Doolittle Mission in February 1942. During this time he completed bombardier-navigator school and served as a B-25 Mitchell bombardier. MSgt Bither was the bombardier on the 12th B-25 to take off from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CV-8) on April 18, 1942, and after bombing its assigned targets in Yokohama, Japan, the crew bailed out over China when their aircraft ran out of fuel. He returned to the United States in June 1942, and then completed Officer Training School, earning his commission as a 1st Lt in the U.S. Army Air Forces on March 16, 1943. Lt Bither served as an engineering officer with the 14th Bomb Group in England from March to June 1943, and then served as a technical supervisor with Headquarters 8th Air Force in England from June to November 1943. His next assignment was as a technical inspector with the 3rd Combat Crew Replacement Center in England from November 1943 to February 1945, followed by service as Executive Officer and Air Inspector with the 9th Air Disarmament Group in England from February to September 1945. After returning to the United States, Capt Bither served as an Admin Inspector and then as Chief of Base Services at Pyote AFB, Texas, from December 1945 to November 1948, and then as a Flight Commander, Supply Officer, and then Squadron Commander of the 3050th Air Base Squadron at Kelly AFB, Texas, from December 1948 to October 1949. Maj Bither's next assignment was as Assistant Chief of Service Installations and then as Commanding Officer of Headquarters Squadron for the 3084th Air Base Group at Kelly AFB from October 1949 to December 1952, followed by service as Commanding Officer of the 483rd Motor Vehicle Squadron in Japan from February to December 1953. After returning to the United States, Maj Bither retired from the Air Force on February 1, 1954. Waldo Bither died on February 25, 1988, and was buried at the Greenwood Memorial Park in Fort Worth, Texas.
His Distinguished Flying Cross Citation reads:
For extraordinary achievement while participating in a highly destructive raid on the Japanese Mainland on April 18, 1942. Sergeant Bither volunteered for this mission knowing full well that the chances of survival were extremely remote and executed his part in it with great skill and daring. This achievement reflects high credit on Sergeant Bither and the military services.