A memorial service will be held April 18, 2019, for Retired Lt. Col. Richard “Dick” Cole, the final surviving member of the Doolittle Raiders, who died April 9. He was 103.
The memorial service at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph in Texas will take place exactly 77 years to the day after the B-25 bomber raid on mainland Japan, according to officials at the base.
According to Air Force officials, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson and Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein will be among the dignitaries attending Cole’s service. Hundreds of airmen will line the main entrance at Randolph to salute the Cole family as they enter the base. The service will also include a fly-by, a missing man formation, and the display of several static aircraft.
Cole was then-Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle’s co-pilot in the lead bomber on the April 18, 1942, mission to strike Japan, a little more than four months after Pearl Harbor. For the daring raid, 80 U.S. Army Air Forces airmen launched 16 modified B-25B Mitchell bombers from the aircraft carrier Hornet. Their raid caused only minor damage, but boosted morale on the home front considerably, and sent Japan a message that the United States was ready to fight back.
Cole will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.