WWII Doolittle Raider Still Flying at Age 97!

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.

More Reunion

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

About Fredda Jones

Fredda Davis Jones was raised “in the country” in Comanche County and learned very early that creativity and innovation are traits that can flourish even in small-town Texas and that with enough effort, indeed nothing is impossible, including being married to the same man for over 40 years! Rickey and Fredda have 2 children, 5 grandchildren, and a crazy life that includes sitting in the bleachers several times a week. The rest of her time is spent creating great content for texansunited.com and marketing small-town Texas.
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2 Responses to WWII Doolittle Raider Still Flying at Age 97!

  1. Missy Jones says:

    Fredda, I am such a fan of the old black and white movies, and one of my favorites is”Thirty Seconds over Tokyo”, a true story about one of the crews in the doolittle raid. And, I can almost quote the dialogue from that movie. David Thatcher was one of the crew members whose story is told in this movie. this should be required viewing by All Americans. MJ

  2. Bob Mcvey says:

    Fredda, I first became aware of your writings through the Doolittle Raider story and the fact that Dick Cole lives in Comfort, Texas. We live in Boerne right next door and while I have been aware of the historical event of Doolittle Raider surviving men I was nor aware that one of the last four survivors was my neighbor. I am a retired Army man of the Vietnam err but spent most of that in the aviation field working on Helicopters. I would really like to buy Dick a cup of coffee and thank him for his service.

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