(Senate - May 07, 2019)

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[Pages S2681-S2682]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  Mr. INHOFE. Madam President, today I wish to honor Lieutenant Colonel 
Richard ``Dick'' Cole, of the United States Air Force, who was the last 
living link of the Doolittle Raiders and passed away on April 9 at the 
age of 103. The Doolittle Raiders were comprised of 80 heroic U.S. Army 
Air Forces airmen who flew 16 modified B-25 Mitchell bombers off the 
USS Hornet aircraft carrier on the first Allied retaliatory strike on 
the Japanese Home Islands, just a few months after Pearl Harbor.
  In an age before midair refueling and GPS, the USS Hornet weighed 
less than a quarter of today's fortress-like aircraft carriers. With 
then-Lt. Cole as the copilot to then-Lt. Col. Jimmy

[[Page S2682]]

Doolittle, the B-25 Mitchell bomber #40-2344, would take off with only 
467 feet of takeoff distance. This audacious and unprecedented raid was 
a one-way mission against enormous odds. What made the mission all the 
more challenging was a sighting by a Japanese patrol boat that prompted 
the task force commander, U.S. Navy Adm. William Halsey, to launch the 
mission more than 650 nautical miles from Japan, 10 hours early and 170 
nautical miles farther than originally planned. Flying at wavetop level 
around 200 feet with their radios turned off, Cole and the Raiders 
avoided detection for as much of the distance as possible. In groups of 
two to four aircraft, the bombers targeted dry docks, armories, oil 
refineries, and aircraft factories in Yokohama, Nagoya, Osaka and Kobe, 
as well as Tokyo itself. The Japanese air defenses were so caught off 
guard by the Raiders that little anti-aircraft fire was volleyed and 
only one Japanese Zero followed in pursuit. With their bombs delivered, 
the Raiders flew towards safety in nonoccupied China, but had to bail 
out when their aircraft ran out of fuel.
  The bombing mission sent a message that America was ready to fight 
back, and bolstered spirits on the home front. Lt. Col. Cole remained 
in the China-Burma-India Theater flying combat and transport missions 
from May 1942 to June 1943, followed by service with the 5th Fighter 
Group in Tulsa, OK, from June to October 1943. He retired from the Air 
Force on December 31, 1966, as a command pilot with more than 5,000 
flight hours in 30 different aircraft, amassing more than 250 combat 
missions and more than 500 combat hours. His decorations include the 
Distinguished Flying Cross with two oakleaf clusters; Air Medal with 
oakleaf cluster; Bronze Star Medal; Air Force Commendation Medal; and 
Chinese Army, Navy, Air Corps Medal, Class A, First Grade. All 
Doolittle Raiders were also awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in May 
  In his final years, Lt. Col. Cole remained a familiar face at Air 
Force events in the San Antonio area and toured Air Force schoolhouses 
and installations to promote the spirit of service among new 
generations of airmen. On September 19, 2016, Lt. Col. Cole was present 
during the naming ceremony for the Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider, named 
in honor of the Doolittle Raiders. While he may have slipped the surly 
bonds of earth to reunite with his fellow Raiders, his legacy will 
forever live on in the hearts and minds of Americans.
  On behalf of my colleagues in the U.S. Senate, I wish to offer our 
eternal thanks to Lt. Col. Cole and our condolences to his family. May 
we never forget the courage and honor of the Doolittle Raiders.