JBSA-Randolph honors Doolitte Raider

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Unread post19 Apr 2014, 19:57


http://www.news4sanantonio.com/news/fea ... 0764.shtml

SAN ANTONIO - A toast today to honor a local man who holds an important place in history. Lt. Col. Richard, or Dick, Cole is one of four surviving members of the Doolittle Raiders, and Friday marks the 72nd anniversary of the airstrike in Japan, one of the most famous acts in military history.

He's an American hero and a living legend, but Col. Cole, 98, is humble about his place in history.

"Above all we're just happy the mission was successful, and that was our job," he said. Seventy-two years after a job well done, he shared a toast with local airmen at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, his family members and relatives of the other famous Doolittle Raiders. Col. Cole toasted a successful mission, and all his comrades that are no longer here.

"In a way, it's bittersweet. So many have passed before him, he never thought he would be in this position to be one of the last few. But at the same time, he remembers all of them and honors all of them," his daughter Cindy Chal said.

On April 18th, 1942, Col. Cole was co-pilot to then-Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle, in the first B-25 medium bomber off the carrier USS Hornet. The 80 men bombed targets in Japan before heading to China, where they crashed and eventually made it to safety. The risky operation had never been tried before.

"It was sort of like the pilgrims," Chal explained. "They knew once they left the Hornet, they were never going to see anyone they knew again. They didn't know for sure, but they were hoping."

The raid boosted morale and proved Japan wasn't untouchable.

"News didn't travel fast back then. Our country at that time was kind of in a lull or downgrade and these men lifted the spirits of all the people in the United States to help them understand we were in this to win," explained Robert Parker, whose father was Lt. James Parker, co-pilot on Plane 9.

So to mark this significant day, the Air Force took a few minutes to take a step back in time, to honor the brave men, and remember how they changed history.

"It makes me feel very good, the support," Col. Cole said. "I think it's just a tribute to people who did their job."

The Doolittle Raiders got together every year on the anniversary of the raid, but November was their last official gathering because the four survivors are not all able to travel. They toasted with a bottle of 1896 Hennessy cognac, from the year Gen. Doolittle was born. Col. Cole lives near the town of Comfort in Kendall County.

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