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Old 04-09-2019, 4:10pm   #1
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Default No More Doolittle Raiders

Dick Cole, the last of the legendary Doolittle Raiders who boosted American morale with a daring air raid on Japan in the fifth month of World War II, died Tuesday morning in San Antonio at 103.

A longtime resident of Comfort, Cole recently was hospitalized at Brooke Army Medical Center, where a series of high-profile visitors dropped by to see him, including the Air Force’s chief of staff, Gen. Dave Goldfein.

Cole in recent years had become the most celebrated of the 80 Raiders because he managed to outlive all the others. He responded to the attention with a sense of humor and ready one-liners.

Once asked for the secret to longevity, Cole replied, “For me, I think the secret is you’ve got to keep moving like the sheriff is after you.”

“We offer our eternal thanks & condolences to his family,” Goldfein wrote in a tweet on hearing of Cole’s passing. “We will proudly carry the torch he & his fellow Raiders handed us. May we never forget the long blue's who we are.”

“He died peacefully,” said his daughter, Cindy Chal.

The combat flight for which Lt. Richard Eugene Cole became famous was his first, as it turned out. At 26, he was Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle’s co-pilot on the April 18, 1942, Tokyo Raid, flying the lead aircraft of 16 two-engine bombers from the USS Hornet.

The all-volunteer crews and their charismatic leader had practiced short takeoffs in the B-25 Mitchells in Florida. They had done it off a carrier flight deck only once before. The plan required careful timing for a pass over Tokyo, Nagoya and Yokosuka, followed by landings at friendly airfields in China.

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Old 04-09-2019, 4:18pm   #2
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I met Doolittle once at an airshow in the 70s. Nice guy.
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Old 04-09-2019, 5:16pm   #3
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Old 04-09-2019, 7:12pm   #4
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I got to meet him in 2017 at the Air Force museum during the event to honor the Doolittle raiders. May he rest in peace and be blessed by God.
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Old 04-09-2019, 11:10pm   #5
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Happened to be at an event today where the CSAF Gen Goldfein payed great tribute to Lt Col Cole. Gen Goldfein visited him yesterday and passed on the nation's gratitude. Those guys thought it was a one way mission...
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