Richard Cole, a retired lieutenant colonel who was the last surviving member of the Jimmy Doolittle Raid, the first American strike on Japan in World War II, died at 103.
Cole, from Dayton, Ohio, was part of the 80-man volunteer team that opened America’s Pacific Theater during the war. The Doolittle Raid targeted weapons factories and military bases in and around Tokyo. Cole served as mission commander and Jimmy Doolittle’s co-pilot in the April 18, 1942, raid four months after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor.
Nine men died during the mission, including four who were captured by Japanese forces and executed. But it gave a big boost to morale in America.
Cole survived to fly more than 100 cargo missions out of India.
He will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.