Last Doolittle Raider Passes Away

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    Last of WW2 ‘Doolittle Raiders’ Dick Cole dies aged 103

    10 April 2019

    Dick Cole, the last veteran of a World War Two bombing raid on Japan in retaliation for the attack on Pearl Harbor, has died. He was 103 years old.

    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.

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    As a footnote: I once read a book on the Doolittle Raid in which the author commented that James Doolittle’s family name was somewhat ironic because, on the contrary to “doing little,” the man was actually a powerhouse with a long list of accomplishments in various aviation-related fields, both theoretical and applied. He was, among other things, a test pilot and an aeronautical engineer, a record-setter and a prize winner, with many of these accomplishments pre-dating the outbreak of WWII in 1939 (at which time he was a reserve officer in the Air Corps, having resigned his regular commission in 1930; he returned to active duty in the Air Corps in 1940). WWII added more items to his C.V., the Doolittle Raid being the most famous example but by no means the only one.

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