Richard "Dick" Cole, the retired Air Force Lt. Col. who was the last surviving member of World War II’s Doolittle Raiders, has died. He was 103.
The president of the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders Association confirmed the sad news to The Air Force Times. He reportedly passed away surrounded by his son and daughter on Tuesday, April 9, in San Antonio.
Dayton, Ohio native Richard was the co-pilot of mission commander Jimmy Doolittle in the 1942 bomb attack five months after the Japan attack on Pearl Harbor.
Our Nation has lost a legend. Our thoughts are with the family of Lt. Col. Dick Cole, the last of the Doolittle Raiders, who passed away at age 103. He was a true trailblazer, and his selfless legacy of service lives on in our Airmen of today and tomorrow.
— Acting SecDef Pat Shanahan (@ActingSecDef) April 9, 2019
The Raiders were honored with the Congressional Gold Medal for their heroism, service, valor and skill in 2015.
The Raiders, including Richard, were helped by Chinese partisans but seven crewmembers died; three of them were killed during the mission; three were captured and executed while the remaining one died in captivity.
Lt Col Dick Cole has slipped the surly bonds of Earth & reunited w/his fellow Doolittle Raiders. We offer our eternal thanks & condolences to his family.
We will proudly carry the torch he & his fellow Raiders handed us. May we never forget the long blue line...it's who we are. pic.twitter.com/PP1Nbd6ywU
— Gen. Dave Goldfein (@GenDaveGoldfein) April 9, 2019
A book his service, "Dick Cole’s War: Doolittle Raider, Hump Pilot, Air Commando a.k.a.American Military Experience was published in 2015.
A memorial service for the late Air Force Lt. Col. is set to be held at Joint Base San Antonio. He will reportedly be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Rest In Peace Richard Cole!
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