SAN ANTONIO, Texas — A legendary chapter in the United States Air Force history has come to a close after retired Lt. Col. Richard “Dick” E. Cole, the last survivor of the “Doolittle Raid,” died Tuesday.
Lt. Col. Cole was 103 years old.
“Lt. Col. Dick Cole reunited with the Doolittle Raiders in the clear blue skies today,” said Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson. “My heart goes out to his friends and family as our Air Force mourns with them. We will honor him and the courageous Doolittle Raiders as pioneers in aviation who continue to guide our bright future.”
Lt. Col. Cole, was the last of the 80 Doolittle Tokyo Raiders who carried out the daring U.S. attack on Japan during World War II.
According to Air Force representatives, Lt. Col. Cole died Tuesday at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio with his children by his side.
Cole was mission commander Jimmy Doolittle's co-pilot in the attack less than five months after the December 1941 Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor.
Lt. Col. Cole, who lived in Comfort, Texas, had stayed active even in recent years, attending air shows and participating in commemorative events including April 18, 2017, ceremonies for the raid's 75th anniversary at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force near Dayton, Ohio.
KENS 5 caught up with Lt. Col. Cole to wish him a Happy 101st Birthday a couple of years back.
When asked what he owed his long life to, he told us "Lady Luck." Check out what else he had to say below.
RIP Lt. Col. Cole.