WWII pilot heads to D.C. for veterans conference

99-year-old Richard Cole still loves to fly

SAN ANTONIO – He sat quietly at the Delta Airlines gate waiting on his plane while person after person came up to shake his hand and say, "Thank you for your service".

Retired Lt. Col. Richard Cole, a B-25 pilot in World War II, was heading to Washington, D.C., to the American Veterans Center Conference, but before he could board his flight, he acknowledged the folks around him.

"I feel like I am very fortunate to be an individual that managed to be around today," Cole said.

At 99 years old, Cole is still going strong.

"He is very healthy and he is still able to travel and when he is invited he still goes places," said his daughter Cincy Chal.

Cole's passion for flight was ignited in the 1920s, "Paid a dollar to take a ride on a Ford trimotor and I was hooked," Cole said.

In 1941 he joined the Army Air Force and was commissioned as a second lieutenant when he climbed into a B-25, "It was heaven on Earth," Cole said.

Early in 1942 he volunteered for a mission and become the co-pilot for the famous James Doolittle and was a part of the Tokyo Raid.

He recently took another ride in a B-25, and said it was "great" and that ride sums up his service.

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