Richard Cole, Last WWII Doolittle Raider, Dies in Texas at 103

Retired Lt. Col. Richard "Dick" Cole, the last of the 80 Doolittle Tokyo Raiders who carried out the daring U.S. attack on Japan during World War II, died Tuesday at a military hospital in Texas. He was 103.Robert Whetstone, a spokesman for Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, confirmed Cole's death. Whetstone had no immediate additional details.Cole, who lived in Comfort, Texas, had stayed active even in recent years, attending air shows and participating in commemorative events including April 18, 2017, ceremonies for the raid's 75th anniversary at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force near Dayton, Ohio.Cole was mission commander Jimmy Doolittle's co-pilot in the attack less than five months after the December 1941 Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor.Doolittle died in 1993. The Gen. James "Jimmy" H. Doolittle Archives are at the University of Texas at Dallas. Cole's papers are also part of the school's History of Aviation Collection.Cole was a Dayton-area native who recounted riding his bicycle as a child to watch planes at McCook Field, a military testing air base there. He dreamed of being a pilot and after attending Ohio University, enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1940. Stationed in South Carolina, he signed up as a volunteer for a secret mission he knew would be dangerous, but not much else about. They trained at Eglin Air Force to fly B-25 bombers on short takeoffs, in preparation for flying off an aircraft carrier.  Continue reading...

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