Air Force bids farewell to last surviving Doolittle Raider

Retired Lt. Col. Richard 'Dick' Cole dies at age 103

By Brina Monterroza - Executive Producer

SAN ANTONIO - A memorial service to celebrate the last surviving Doolittle Raider was held Thursday at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph.

Retired Lt. Col. Richard "Dick" Cole died April 9 at the age of 103. Cole was the co-pilot of the lead plane that bombed Tokyo 77 years ago during World War II. The air bombings were in retaliation for the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

The group of 80 airmen was known as the Doolittle Raiders. They bombed oil storage tankers, warehouses, military targets and industrial plants in Tokyo and five surrounding industrial cities.

"The Doolitle Raid exemplified American defiance and ingenuity," said Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson. "They bet big, and it worked because nobody thought such an attack was even possible."

Cole's son, Lt. Col. Rich Cole, spoke at the memorial service about his father's legacy.

"He was a wonderful father, a loving husband. He was an American warrior," said Rich Cole. "But I don't want us to forget to celebrate his life. It was a life well lived, a job well done, a fight well fought."

Richard Cole's final resting place will be at Arlington National Cemetery.

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