We do love our heroes here in Texas. We especially love them when they are native sons and we quickly and jealously claim them when they are transplants, sure that they intended to be born here anyway had fate not intervened.
Yes, in Texas, the home of the grandiose, even our heroes are bigger and brighter than are those in other parts of the world, and the subject of today’s story is certainly no exception.
Doolittle Raider Lt. Col. Dick Cole who resides in Comfort, Texas recently attended what is set to be the last reunion of what history calls the Doolittle Raiders. Of the four remaining survivors of the group (all in their 90s), three were able to attend the sold-out event in Florida.
“Retired Lt. Col. Richard Cole, 97, David Thatcher, 91, and Retired Lt. Col. Edward Saylor, 93, are at Eglin Air Force Base in the Florida Panhandle for a final public reunion of the Doolittle Raiders.
“They decided to meet at Eglin because it is where they trained for their top-secret mission in the winter of 1942, just weeks after the Japanese devastated the American fleet at Pearl Harbor.
“The fourth surviving raider, 93-year-old Robert Hite, could not make the event.”
Their story began over 70 years ago on April 18, 1942, at a time when the recent bombing of Pearl Harbor had cast a dark, dark shadow across the country, demoralizing Americans as the Japanese extended their forces across the Pacific. The air raid led by Lieutenant Colonel James H. Doolittle was more than a mission of war; it was a mission of hope for America.
Today, Raider Richard Cole brings a different kind of hope to all of us hoping to skirt the ravages of our twilight years for you see, if he is still capable of flying at the tender age of 97 years young, there is reason for the rest of us to believe that we can continue to lead productive lives as we approach the same age.
Larry Kelley owns the vintage B-25 aircraft that Cole flew that day.
“Oh yeah, he did most of the flying today. He did the landing. He’s dead on. I kept looking over the altimeter. I told him to hold 1,500 feet and I kept looking at the altimeter and it was dead on: not 1,499 feet, not 1,501 feet. He had the altimeter pegged at 1,500 feet,” he said.
Quotes from writings by Robert Jaques as well as The Daily Mail Reporter.
Our thank you goes out to Kevin Stonerock for reminding us that we needed to look into this story and to