VOL. 27 - NO. 17
AUG 14 - 21, 2022
PO BOX 13283
OAKLAND, CA 94661-0283

510.595.7777 FAX

Joint Forces Journal is published privately, and in no way is connected with DoD, the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard. This website and the printed newspaper are intended for the members of the Armed Forces and their families. Contents do not necessarily reflect official views of the U.S. Government, the Department of Defense or the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard, and do not imply endorsements thereof. The marital status, physical handicap, political affiliation, or any other non-merit factor of the purchases, user or patron for advertisers prohibited. If a violation or rejection of this equal opportunity policy by an advertiser is confirmed, the publisher shall refuse to print advertising from that source until the violation is corrected. Editorial content is prepared and edited privately, and is provided by the Public Affairs Office of U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard installations. Correspondence and material for publication should be addressed to: Editor, Joint Forces Journal, P.O. Box 13283, Oakland, CA, 94661-0283. Deadline for receiving articles and photos is 3 p.m. Monday for publication on Friday of that week. Joint Forces Journal editorial policy is to use bylines and photo credits where applicable and when submitted.

Last of the Doolittle Raiders, Dick Cole, Dies at 103

Jul 19, 2022
by Oriana Pawlyk
Retired Lt. Col. Richard "Dick" Cole, the last veteran of the famous "Doolittle Raid" on Tokyo during World War II, died recently. He was 103.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein announced during the Space Symposium in Colorado that Cole had died at Texas' San Antonio Medical Center.

"There's another hole in our formation," he told the audience. "Our last remaining Doolittle Raider has slipped the surly bonds of Earth. He is now reunited with his fellow Raiders. And what a reunion they must be having."

The famed raid was named for then-Lt. Col. James "Jimmy" Doolittle, who led 16 B-25 bombers and 80 crew members from the aircraft carrier Hornet in the western Pacific on a strike targeting factories and military installations in and around Tokyo on April 18, 1942. The mission helped boost morale after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Cole, Doolittle's co-pilot on the mission, received the Distinguished Flying Cross for his role in the bombing.

"Those 80 intrepid airmen changed the course of history," Goldfein said. "They executed a one-way mission without hesitation against enormous odds."

Cole spoke about the raid in 2016. "The flight was designed to do two things: One, to let the Japanese people know that they could be struck by air; and the other thing was the morale, and we did that, so we were very proud of that," he said.

In 2014, then-President Barack Obama signed legislation awarding the Congressional Gold Medal, the nation's highest honor for distinguished achievements, to the Doolittle Raiders.

Cole, who stood beside Obama during the signing, said he wished his fellow pilots could have been there to see the historic day.

"I wish all of the Raiders were here to take part in the bill passing," he said in an interview with Air Force Times at the time. "I couldn't be happier."

A year later, the medal was presented at the U.S. Capitol; it is now at the National Museum of the Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.

On the 75th anniversary of the raid in 2017, veterans and leaders from across the U.S. honored the Raiders with a ceremony and a B-25 and B-1B Lancer flyover followed by a toast at the museum.

Goldfein recalled that ceremony. He said he asked Cole what it felt like to be "'flying blind for so many hours, low on gas, after they hit their targets, trying to make it to the Chinese coastline without a beacon to guide them."

Cole, he said, joked it would have been nice to have had GPS back then.

"We're going to miss Col. Cole, and we offer our eternal thanks and our condolences to his family," Goldfein said. "The legacy of the Doolittle Raiders will forever live in the hearts and minds of airmen long after we've all departed."

The Raiders' achievements have been celebrated many times over the years. In 2017, President Donald Trump spoke with Cole during a phone call in advance of his 102nd birthday.

The Air Force in 2016 named its next-generation B-21 Long Range Strike Bomber the Raider after the Doolittle Raiders, which Cole announced for the service.

* * * * *

Photo caption: Retired Lt. Col. Dick Cole, a co-pilot in the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo, raises a glass to toast the 74th anniversary of the raid at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas. (Photo: Airman 1st Class Stormy Archer)


Legendary Blue Angels Squadron Announces First Female Jet Pilot

TRAVEL & ENTERTAINMENT: Rock-Star Stylings of Lee Rocker of the Stray Cats Comes to Livermore’s Bankhead Theater

Air Force to Promote Fewer Noncommissioned Officers as Worries About Inexperience Grow

TRAVEL & ENTERTAINMENT: Woodminster Summer Musicals Presents “ON YOUR FEET! The Story of Emilio & Gloria Estefan”

Singing 82nd Airborne Soldiers Have an Unlikely Hit with Video Filmed at Fort Bragg

Coast Guard Academy Welcomes 302 Swabs for Day One

Woody Williams, Last WWII Medal of Honor Recipient, Lies in Honor at Capitol Rotunda

Last of the Doolittle Raiders, Dick Cole, Dies at 103

Fighter Jet Blown Off Carrier Deck in Unexpected Heavy Weather

TRAVEL & ENTERTAINMENT: TheatreWorks Silicon Valley Presents the World Premiere of “Nan and the Lower Body”