Today is the 75th anniversary of the Doolittle Raid. 16 B-25 bombers took off from the carrier USS Hornet on this day to bomb Japan in the first strike after Pearl Harbor. While the mission had minimal strategic value, the moral affect of the mission was everlasting. Of the eighty men who made that journey only, Colonel Dick Cole is left to honor his friends and comrades.
Eleven of the twelve B-25’s flew from Grimes Field in Urban to Wright Patterson Air Force Base at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. The planes were arranged as they were onboard on the carrier.
Dick is one of the most spry veterans I’ve ever met. At 101 years old he is still making his rounds around the planes talking with all the crews. When he got to the Sandbar Mitchell crew, Patrick brought out the throttle controls for Dick to rest his hand on.
April 18th is a big day in aviation. It represents the resolve that we as a nation were willing to carry out in a time when it was needed the most. The eighty men that made the treck to Japan did something that had never been done before and thanks to the volunteers and veterans like Cole, it will never be forgotten.