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Doolittle Raiders honored at National Museum of the United States Air Force

Doolittle Raider Goblets at the Museum of the U.S. Air Force

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE (WKEF/WRGT)-- It was 75 years ago today the Doolittle Raiders attacked the Japanese mainland in B-25 bombers.

The daughter of the last living member, Lt. Col. Richard Cole says the group never thought of themselves as heroes, just men on a mission.

Lt. Col. Richard Cole is the last of 80 men who flew what many thought was a suicide mission to bomb Japan.

"I feel it's a privilege to be here because my father has lived so long and I get to hear the stories and answers from many other people who tell us about (what happened) 75 years ago," Cindy Cole, the daugther of Lt. Cole Richard Cole said.

Tuesday's ceremony started with several B-25 bombers flying over the crowd in formation.

Inside a private ceremony was held where the second to last of 80 goblets was turned over to honor the death of SSgt. David Thatcher, who died last year.

Lt. Col. Richard Cole's daughter says he always said he was just in the right place at the right time to be a part of the mission.

On April 18, 1942, 80 men achieved the unimaginable when their B-25 Mitchell Bombers took off from an aircraft carrier on a top secret mission to bomb Japan. These men, led by Lt. Col. James H. "Jimmy" Doolittle, came to be known as the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders.

Lt. Col. Richard “Dick” E. Cole served as Doolittle’s co-pilot on Crew No. 1 of 16 crews.

Cole, now 101 years old, plans to be at the museum to commemorate the anniversary and will privately honor fellow Raider SSgt. David Thatcher, who passed away last year.

Each year since the end of World War II, with the exception of 1951, the Doolittle Raiders held an annual reunion.

The museum had the privilege of hosting the Raiders in April 1965 (23rd), 1999 (57th), 2006 (64th), 2010 (68th) and 2012 (70th), before Cole, Thatcher and Lt. Col. Ed Saylor had a final toast to their fallen comrades on Nov. 9, 2013. On April 18, 2015, Cole and Thatcher returned to the museum and were presented with the Congressional Gold Medal, which is now on display as part the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders exhibit in the museum’s WWII Gallery.

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