Richard Eugene Cole
Cole in 2014
|Born||September 7, 1915|
Dayton, Ohio, U.S.
|Died||April 9, 2019 103) (aged|
San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
Arlington National Cemetery (not yet interred as of October 2019)
|Years of service||1940–1966|
|Unit|| 17th Bomb Group |
1st Air Commando Group
|Commands held||831st Combat Support Group|
|Battles/wars|| World War II |
|Awards|| Distinguished Flying Cross (3)|
Bronze Star Medal
Air Medal (2)
Richard Eugene Cole (September 7, 1915 – April 9, 2019) was an American career officer in the United States Air Force. He was one of the airmen who took part in the Doolittle Raid on April 18, 1942, serving as the co-pilot to Jimmy Doolittle in the lead airplane of the raid. He eventually reached the rank of lieutenant colonel.
The United States Air Force (USAF) is the aerial and space warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the seven American uniformed services. Initially formed as a part of the United States Army on 1 August 1907, the USAF was established as a separate branch of the U.S. Armed Forces on 18 September 1947 with the passing of the National Security Act of 1947. It is the youngest branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, and the fourth in order of precedence. The USAF is the largest and most technologically advanced air force in the world. The Air Force articulates its core missions as air and space superiority, global integrated intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, rapid global mobility, global strike, and command and control.
The Doolittle Raid, also known as the Tokyo Raid, was an air raid by the United States on the Japanese capital Tokyo and other places on Honshu during World War II. It was the first air operation to strike the Japanese archipelago. It demonstrated that the Japanese mainland was vulnerable to American air attack, served as retaliation for the attack on Pearl Harbor, and provided an important boost to American morale. The raid was planned, led by, and named after Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle of the United States Army Air Forces.
James Harold Doolittle was an American general and aviation pioneer. He made early coast-to-coast flights, won many flying races and, most significantly, helped develop instrument flying.
Cole remained in China after the raid until June 1943, and served again in the China Burma India Theater from October 1943 until June 1944. He later served as Operations Advisor to the Venezuelan Air Force from 1959 to 1962. He retired from the Air Force in 1966 and became the last living Doolittle Raider in 2016.
China Burma India Theater (CBI) was the United States military designation during World War II for the China and Southeast Asian or India-Burma (IBT) theaters. Operational command of Allied forces in the CBI was officially the responsibility of the Supreme Commanders for South East Asia or China. However, US forces in practice were usually overseen by General Joseph Stilwell, the Deputy Allied Commander in China; the term "CBI" was significant in logistical, material and personnel matters; it was and is commonly used within the US for these theaters.
The Venezuelan air force, officially the Venezuelan National Bolivarian Military Aviation is a professional armed body designed to defend Venezuela's sovereignty and airspace. It is a service component of the National Armed Forces of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
Richard Eugene Cole was born on September 7, 1915, in Dayton, Ohio.He graduated from Marion L. Steele High School and went on to attend Ohio University for two years.
Dayton is the sixth-largest city in the state of Ohio and the county seat of Montgomery County. A small part of the city extends into Greene County. The 2018 U.S. census estimate put the city population at 140,640, while Greater Dayton was estimated to be at 803,416 residents. This makes Dayton the fourth-largest metropolitan area in Ohio and 63rd in the United States. Dayton is within Ohio's Miami Valley region, just north of Greater Cincinnati.
Marion L. Steele High School, often referred to as Amherst Steele, is a public high school located in Amherst, Ohio, United States, approximately 30 miles (48 km) west of Cleveland. The school is named after a long serving principal of Amherst High, Marion L. Steele.
Ohio University is a public research university in Athens, Ohio. The first university chartered by an Act of Congress and the first to be chartered in Ohio, it was chartered in 1787 by the Congress of the Confederation and subsequently approved for the territory in 1802 and state in 1804, opening for students in 1809. Ohio University is the oldest university in Ohio, the eighth oldest public university in the United States and the 30th oldest among public and private universities. As of fall 2018, the university's total enrollment at Athens was 20,000, while the all-campus enrollment was just under 35,000.
He enlisted as an aviation cadet in the Air Force on November 22, 1940, at Lubbock, Texas.
Lubbock is the 11th-most populous city in the U.S. state of Texas and the county seat of Lubbock County. With a population of 260,972 in 2019, the city is also the 81st-most populous in the United States. The city is in the northwestern part of the state, a region known historically and geographically as the Llano Estacado, and ecologically is part of the southern end of the High Plains, lying at the economic center of the Lubbock metropolitan area, which has a projected 2020 population of 327,424.
He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in July 1941 and rated as a pilot, when he was awarded his pilot wings at Randolph Field, Texas, on July 12, 1941. His first assignment was as a B-25 Mitchell pilot with the 34th Bomb Squadron of the 17th Bomb Group at Pendleton, Oregon, on July 1941.
Randolph Air Force Base is a United States Air Force base located at Universal City, Texas. The base is under the jurisdiction of the 902d Mission Support Group, Air Education and Training Command (AETC) and is the headquarters of AETC's Nineteenth Air Force.
The 34th Bomb Squadron is part of the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota. It operates Rockwell B-1 Lancer aircraft providing strategic bombing capability.
The 17th Bombardment Group is an inactive United States Air Force unit. The group was last stationed at Hurlburt Field, Florida.
Cole was assigned as the co-pilot of the first aircraft, plane # 40-2344, for the famous "Doolittle Raid" following the attack on Pearl Harbor. This was the first B-25 medium bomber to depart the deck of the USS Hornet during the mission, and it was piloted by the leader of the raid, then-Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Doolittle.
The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise preemptive military strike by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service upon the United States against the naval base at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii on Sunday morning, December 7, 1941. The attack led to the United States' formal entry into World War II the next day. The Japanese military leadership referred to the attack as the Hawaii Operation and Operation AI, and as Operation Z during its planning.
The North American B-25 Mitchell is a medium bomber that was introduced in 1941 and named in honor of Major General William "Billy" Mitchell, a pioneer of U.S. military aviation. Used by many Allied air forces, the B-25 served in every theater of World War II, and after the war ended, many remained in service, operating across four decades. Produced in numerous variants, nearly 10,000 B-25s were built. These included a few limited models such as the F-10 reconnaissance aircraft, the AT-24 crew trainers, and the United States Marine Corps' PBJ-1 patrol bomber.
USS Hornet (CV-8), the seventh ship to carry the name Hornet, was a Yorktown-class aircraft carrier of the United States Navy. During World War II in the Pacific Theater, she launched the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo and participated in the Battle of Midway and the Buin-Faisi-Tonolai Raid. In the Solomon Islands campaign, she was involved in the capture and defense of Guadalcanal and the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands where she was irreparably damaged by enemy torpedo and dive bombers. Faced with an approaching Japanese surface force, Hornet was abandoned and later torpedoed and sunk by approaching Japanese destroyers. Hornet was in service for a year and six days and was the last US fleet carrier ever sunk by enemy fire. For these actions, she was awarded four service stars, a citation for the Doolittle Raid in 1942, and her Torpedo Squadron 8 received a Presidential Unit Citation for extraordinary heroism for the Battle of Midway. Her wreck was located in late January 2019 near the Solomon Islands.
On April 18, 1942, Doolittle and his B-25 crew took off from the Hornet, reached Tokyo, Japan, bombed their target, 2,500 miles (4,000 km). By then, they had been flying for about 13 hours, it was nighttime, the weather was stormy, and Doolittle was unable to locate their landing field in Chuchow. He and his crew linked up after the bailout and were helped through Japanese lines by Chinese guerrillas and American missionary John Birch.then headed for their recovery airfield in China. Doolittle and his crew bailed out safely over China when their B-25 ran out of fuel after flying
After the raid, Cole remained in China and flew C-47 Skytrains to transport supplies from Burma to China over the dangerous Himalayan mountains known to as The Hump, from May 1942 to June 1943. He later served with the 5th Fighter Group in Tulsa, Oklahoma, from June to October 1943.
Cole then volunteered for Project 9, which was the birth of the Air Commandos. He served as an original Air Commando in the Transport Section of Project 9 in the CBI Theater. They took part in the Invasion of Burma, where they invaded with gliders, built a couple of airfields behind Japanese lines, which was the beginning of the march from northeastern India by the ground forces to retake Burma. Cole served with the Air Commandos from October 1943 until he returned to the United States in June 1944.
His next assignment was as an Army Air Forces Plant Representative and Acceptance Test Pilot at Wichita, Kansas, from June 1944 to October 1945, and then as Officer in Charge of the Training Section at Victorville Army Air Field, California, from October 1945 to November 1946. Cole went on terminal leave beginning November 13, 1946, and left active duty on January 11, 1947.
Cole returned to active duty on July 7, 1947, and served on the group staff at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, from July 1947 to January 1952, followed by attending the Armed Forces Staff College at Norfolk, Virginia, from January to September 1952.
During the Korean War, Cole next served on the staff of Far Eastern Air Forces in Japan from September 1952 to March 1955, and then on the staff of Headquarters U.S. Air Force in the Pentagon from March 1955 to July 1958.
After attending Spanish Language Training, he served as an advisor to the Venezuelan Air Force in Caracas, Venezuela, from January 1959 to August 1962, followed by service with the 464th Troop Carrier Wing at Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina, from August to October 1962. His next assignment was on the staff of the Joint Development Group at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, from October 1962 to February 1963, and then as Director of Operations, Executive Officer, and as Vice Commander of the 831st Combat Support Group at George Air Force Base, California, on February 1963.
Cole retired from the military in 1966.
Cole was the last surviving participant in the Doolittle Raid. Staff Sergeant David J. Thatcher, gunner of aircraft No. 7, died on June 23, 2016, at the age of 94. [ citation needed ]Cole was the only one to live longer than Jimmy Doolittle, who died in 1993 at age 96.
On September 19, 2016, the Northrop Grumman B-21 was formally named "Raider" in honor of the Doolittle Raiders.As the last surviving Raider, Cole was present at the naming ceremony during the Air Force Association conference.
Cole died in San Antonio, Texas, on April 9, 2019, at the age of 103.A memorial service for Cole was held at Joint Base San Antonio on April 18, the 77th anniversary of the Doolittle Raid. He was then buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery.
During his lengthy career, Cole earned many decorations, including:
|Distinguished Flying Cross with two bronze oak leaf clusters|
|Bronze Star Medal|
|Air Medal with bronze oak leaf cluster|
|Air Force Commendation Medal|
|Air Force Presidential Unit Citation|
|Air Force Outstanding Unit Award|
|American Defense Service Medal|
|American Campaign Medal|
|Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with four bronze campaign stars|
|World War II Victory Medal|
|National Defense Service Medal with bronze service star|
|Korean Service Medal|
|Air Force Longevity Service Award with silver oak leaf cluster|
|Republic of China Medal of the Armed Forces|
|United Nations Korea Medal|
|Republic of China War Memorial Medal|
The First American Volunteer Group (AVG) of the Chinese Air Force in 1941–1942, nicknamed the Flying Tigers, was composed of pilots from the United States Army Air Corps (USAAC), Navy (USN), and Marine Corps (USMC), recruited under President Franklin Roosevelt's authority before Pearl Harbor and commanded by Claire Lee Chennault. Their P-40B aircraft, marked with Chinese colors, flew under American control. Their mission was to bomb Japan and defend China but many delays meant the AVG flew in combat after the US and Japan declared war.
Major Ted William Lawson was an American officer in the United States Army Air Forces, who is known as the author of Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, a memoir of his participation in the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo in 1942. The book was subsequently adapted into a film of the same name starring Spencer Tracy, Van Johnson and Robert Mitchum.
Jacob Daniel DeShazer participated in the Doolittle Raid as a staff sergeant and later became a missionary in Japan.
Richard Cole is a British tour manager and author.
John Richardson "Johnny" Alison was a highly decorated American combat ace of World War II and is often cited as the father of Air Force Special Operations.
Robert Gabel Emmens was a Doolittle Raider and a career United States Air Force officer.
David M. Jones was a United States Air Force pilot and general officer who served with distinction during World War II. He was one of the Doolittle Raiders whose exploits in April 1942 were dramatized in the film Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo. He then flew combat missions over North Africa, where he was shot down. He was a German prisoner of war for two and a half years, helping with the April 1944 mass escape at Stalag Luft III.
Chakulia Airport is an airport in India. It is located southwest of Chakulia, a town and a notified area in Purbi Singhbhum district in the state of Jharkhand.
The 771st Bombardment Squadron is a former United States Army Air Forces unit. The squadron was activated in 1943, and became one of the earliest Boeing B-29 Superfortress units. It moved to the China Burma India Theater in April 1944 and participated in the first attack on the Japanese Home Islands since the 1942 Doolittle Raid in June 1944. In August 1944, it earned a Distinguished Unit Citation. It was inactivated on 12 October 1944, when the Army Air Forces reorganized its very heavy bomber groups to consist of three, rather than four squadrons.
Richard A. Knobloch was a Brigadier General in the United States Air Force.
William Marsh Bower was an American aviator, U.S. Air Force Colonel and veteran of World War II. Bower was the last surviving pilot of the Doolittle Raid, the first air raid to target the Japanese home island of Honshu.
Asansol Airfield is a former wartime Royal Air Force Station and later used by the United States Army Air Forces airfield in Asansol, India used during the Burma Campaign 1944-1945. It is located near Nigah village on NH 19/ Grand Trunk Road.
Thomas Carson Griffin was an American B-25 bomber navigator who survived the Doolittle Raid in 1942. Griffin attacked Tokyo along with 16 land-based bombers from an aircraft carrier, and later parachuted over China. After relocating to North Africa, he was shot down during an air raid in 1943 and spent time in a prisoner-of-war camp until he was rescued in early 1945. After the war, Griffin moved to Cincinnati, joined the Doolittle Raiders Association, and attended every reunion except the final reunion, which was scheduled for April, 2013. Griffin is survived by two sons.
Colonel Charles Ross Greening was an accomplished pilot and artist. He was one of the 73 men out of the 80 Doolittle Raiders to survive the attack and return home to his family.
Capt. Denver Vernon Truelove was a United States Army Air Forces bombardier who served during World War II. He was one of the eighty Doolittle Raiders who bombed Japan in April 1942. After the Doolittle Raid, Truelove was involved briefly in North Africa. His awards included the Distinguished Flying Cross and Purple Heart.
Lieutenant Colonel Edward J. Saylor, Ret. served in the U.S. Air Force. He was a veteran of World War II and participated in the Doolittle Raid on Japan on April 18, 1942. Saylor was one of the last four surviving Doolittle Raiders at the time of his death in 2015.
William ‘Billy Jack’ Dieter was a sergeant in the United States Army Air Corps. Dieter was a bombardier on the Green Hornet, the sixth plane to take off from a US carrier as part of the Doolittle Raid, a bold long-range retaliatory air raid on the Japanese main islands, on April 18, 1942, four months after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The attack was a major morale booster for the United States. Dieter was one of only three airmen to die in the raid itself, when his B-25 Mitchell, 'Green Hornet', crashed on the coast of China, having run out of fuel.
Lieutenant Colonel Horace Ellis Crouch was an American military aviator whose career included service with the United States Army Air Corps and United States Air Force, he was a combat veteran of World War II and the Korean War who served as one of the crewmembers on the Doolittle Raid.
He was 94 and the next-to-last survivor among the mission's 80 airmen. His death... leaves Richard Cole, age 100, as the last surviving veteran of a legendary chapter in Air Force history. Mr. Cole was a co-pilot alongside Lt. Col. James H. Doolittle, the raid's commander and pilot of its lead plane.
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