Memorial for final WWII Doolittle Raider scheduled for April 18

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Retired Lt. Col. Robert “Dick” E. Cole was a B-25 Mitchell bomber copilot and survivor of the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo during World War II. Cole, who was the final surviving Doolittle Raider, passed away April 9, 2019, in San Antonio.

A memorial service to celebrate the life of retired Lt. Col. Richard “Dick” E. Cole will be held at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, April 18, beginning at 3 p.m. in Hangar 41.

The final surviving member of the famed Doolittle Tokyo Raiders of World War II, Cole passed away in San Antonio April 9 at the age of 103.

Cole was the copilot for then-Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle in a B-25 Mitchell bomber during the surprise mission on April 18, 1942, by the U.S. Army Air Forces to strike the Japanese Home Islands. The strike was in retaliation for the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and bolstered American morale in the early months of World War II.

The memorial also marks the anniversary of the Doolittle Raid. Air Force senior leaders, family and friends are expected to attend.
Arlington National Cemetery, Va., will be Cole’s final resting place.

At the memorial service, hundreds of Airmen will line the main entrance to JB San Antonio-Randolph to salute the family as they enter base. In addition to this tribute, there will be a flyby, missing man formation and several static aircraft displayed.

Second Lt. Henry A. Potter, Lt. Col. James Harold Doolittle, Staff Sgt. Fred Anthony Braemer, 2nd Lt. Richard E. Cole and Staff Sgt. Paul John Leonard stand in front of a B-25 Mitchell bomber.

Cole’s decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with oak leaf cluster, Bronze Star Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Chinese Army, Navy, Air Corps Medal, Class A, 1st Grade.

The memorial date of April 18 also marks the 77th anniversary of the famed WWII raid.

To read more about Cole’s life, visit http://www.aerotechnews.com/blog/2019/04/10/lt-col-dick-cole-last-surviving-doolittle-raider-passes-away-at-age-103/. For more information, videos and photos of the Doolittle Raid and Raiders, visit the National Museum of the Air Force website at https://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/Visit/Museum-Exhibits/Fact-Sheets/Display/Article/196211/doolittle-raid/.