Retd. Lt. Col. Richard E Cole (fondly known as Dick Cole), the last Doolittle Raider of the Tokyo raid in the Second World War breathed his last on April 09, 2019, at 02:03 pm.
He was 103. His death was first reported by Air Force Magazine’s John Tirpak. The famed Doolittle raid was named for then Lt Col Jimmy Doolittle, who led the first US strikes against Japan during the war in 1942.
Retired Lt Cole was Lt Col Doolittle’s co-pilot in the lead plane.
The raid, which included 16 B-25 bombers and 80 crew members, helped boost morale after Pearl Harbor.
“There’s another hole in our formation”, Air Force chief of staff General David L Goldfein said in a statement on Tuesday.
“The Legacy of the Doolittle Raiders – his legacy – will live forever in the hearts and minds of Airmen,” he continued.
Cole remained familiar at Air Force events, including the Doolittle Raiders’ annual reunions. Last year, he was seen at Intrepid War Museum in New York on Memorial Day with people queuing to talk to him and be photographed with him.
“We will miss Lt Col Cole, and offer our eternal thanks and condolences to his family,” wrote Gen Goldfein.
Tom Casey, president of the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders Association informed that Cole will be buried at Arlington National Cemetry. Memorial services are also being scheduled at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolf in Texas.