68th Reunion of Doolittle Raiders memorable event

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Robert Nelson
  • 445th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Sunday, April 18, 2010, a few minutes after 12:30 p.m., the events of the final day of honors at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force for the 68th Reunion of the Doolittle Raiders kicked off.

Seventeen B-25 aircraft took off and grouped into formation for a massive flyover. Hundreds gathered around the monument commemorating the Doolittle Raiders where a wreath was to be laid in their memory.

A few minutes later, the B-25 aircraft, which are maintained by various groups and individuals throughout the nation, began the flyover of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.

Upon completion of the flyover, the Master of Ceremony, retired Maj. Lloyd Bryant, introduced the Secretary of the Air Force, Michael Donley. The SECAF spoke briefly, but pointed out that the Doolittle Raiders are among those who "changed the course of World War II."

Then Doolittle Raider Lt. Col. Richard E. Cole took the podium. Cameras and camcorders began to click and record, while everyone else waited for the war hero to speak. Collonel Cole graduated from Steele high School, Dayton, Ohio and completed two years college at Ohio University. He completed pilot training and was commissioned as second lieutenant, July 1941. He remained in China-Burma-India after Tokyo Raid until June 1943, and served again in the China-Burma-India Theater from October 1943 until June, 1944.

As the co-pilot of Crew 1 on aircraft 40-2344, Lt. Gen. James Doolittle's' aircraft, he acknowledged that he and his fellow Raiders "set a standard of military leadership." The colonel stated that he had "no realization of the morale effect" that the attack would have on the nation. His finally comment to the many that stood to hear him speak, was a heartfelt "thank you for joining us today."

Colonel Cole is one of eight remaining Doolittle Raiders.