James H. Doolittle was a long-time aviation promoter, air racer, Air Force officer, and aerospace research and development advocate. He had served with the U.S. Army Air Corps between 1917 and 1930, and then was manager of the aviation section for Shell Oil Co. between 1930 and 1940. In World War II, Doolittle won early fame for leading the April 1942 bombing of Tokyo, and then as commander of a succession of air units in Africa, the Pacific, and Europe. He was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general in 1944. After the war he was a member of the Air Force's Scientific Advisory Board and the President's Scientific Advisory Committee. At the time of Sputnik he was chair of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics and the USAF Scientific Advisory Board. In 1985 the Senate approved his promotion in retirement to four-star general.