Many would say “Doolittle’s Raid” is one of the brighter moments in American military history. It was the U.S. response to Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor.
You might remember the dramatic retelling of this historic operation in the feature film Pearl Harbor.
As you can see in that video, part of what made this WW2 air raid so unprecedented was the engineering it took to get such big heavy bombers (B-25’s) safely off of an aircraft carrier.
Typically a big plane like that required a longer runway to get airborne.
Of course, the other part of the story is how bold an operation it was. At the time, the U.S. did not have forward bases close enough to allow an attack on Japan.
So a small U.S. Navy task force was sent out toward the Japanese mainland with the mission to drop bombs on Tokyo and strike fear into the heart of the enemy.
Compared to the calamitous Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, it was a small feat, but it was a bold statement at the same time. “We’re still here”.
Fast forward to today.
We’re learned the last surviving member of Doolittle’s Raid is coming to the Oregon International Air Show.
103-year-old Lt. Col Richard “Dick” Cole will appear at this year’s show as part of a “Salute to Doolittle’s Raiders.” Lt. Col. Cole was the co-pilot for Jimmy Doolittle during the April, 1942 raid.
The B-25 Mitchell “Grumpy” will fly a demonstration including a tribute pass and the aircraft will also be on ground display during the show.
Lt. Col. Cole will be available at a display in front of the parked B-25 on Saturday and Sunday to meet with and sign autographs for air show guests.
“Lt Col Dick Cole is a living legend and we are so thankful that this cherished witness to one of the seminal moments in our nation’s history has accepted our invitation to attend this year’s show,” said Oregon International Air Show President Bill Braack. “We look forward to hosting him as well as paying tribute to him and the rest of the Doolittle Raiders”