Author Topic: The Last Doolittle Raider Standing - Richard E. Cole  (Read 167 times)

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Offline Libertas

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The Last Doolittle Raider Standing - Richard E. Cole
« on: April 17, 2017, 08:24:41 AM »




At 101 years old, Dayton native Richard E. Cole is the last Doolittle Raider standing.

On Monday and Tuesday, he’s set for a homecoming of sorts to mark the 75th anniversary of the audacious raid commemorated in ceremonies and a World War II era B-25 bomber flyover at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.

On April 18, 1942, 80 Army Air Forces airmen climbed into 16 B-25B Mitchell bombers in groups of five to fly off deck of the USS Hornet and travel across hundreds of miles of ocean to bomb Japan.

Cole was co-pilot to the raid leader, then Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle, a legendary record-setting aviator.

In a decades-old tradition Tuesday, Cole will turn over one of two silver goblets still standing upright among 80 to mark the death of fellow Raider David J. Thatcher, a retired postal carrier who died of a stroke last June in his Montana home at age 94.

When a Raiders dies, a survivor has turned a goblet upside down with the name of fellow airman engraved on it.

“You truly feel sorry that you’re turning over the cup of a comrade but somehow something sneaks into your thoughts about it not being you,” Cole said.

Jeff Thatcher, son of David Thatcher, will travel to Dayton to witness the private ceremony.

“I’m sure it’s going to be a real emotional moment to me because of the significance of the actual act of turning over the goblet,” Thatcher, 61, of Little Rock, Ark., said in an interview with this newspaper.

https://www.stripes.com/news/veterans/last-doolittle-raider-standing-wwii-vet-to-attend-homecoming-75th-anniversary-event-1.463757#.WPTBAIMzodW

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