Lt. Col. Richard “Dick” Cole, who at 101 years old, is the last surviving member of the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders.
Cole will join Dennis Okerstrom, a Park University professor, Wednesday, Dec. 7, at the National World War I Museum and Memorial, for a conversation on the significance of the air response that change the course of World War II.
The event is being held on the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Admission to the event is free; however, due to the expected crowd, reservations are required, with seating on a first come, first served basis. To reserve a seat, visit www.park.edu/cole. The event begins at 6:30 p.m.
The discussion is titled “Before 9/11, there was a 12/7: Reflections of Doolittle Raider Dick Cole on World War II.”
Okerstrom is the author of Dick Cole’s War: Doolittle Raider, Hump Pilot Air Commando. Okerstrom will present a brief history of the attack on Pearl Harbor and the U.S. response before introducing Cole.
Cole served as a co-pilot to Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle in the first B-25 to take off from the USS Hornet on April 18, 1942, in the U.S. air raid on Tokyo. Cole will discuss his wartime experiences and will answer questions from the audience, moderated by Okerstrom.
Despite the raid on Tokyo resulting in relatively minor damage to the Japanese city, Cole and all of the members of Doolittle Raiders, in recognition the tremendous boost their mission gave to American morale in World War II, were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in May 2014 “for outstanding heroism, valor, skill and service to the United States in conducting their bombings of Tokyo.” The raid is credited by many historians as the critical factor of the Japanese defeat at the Battle of Midway, often cited as the turning point in the Pacific war.
The National Archives at Kansas City is home to historical records dating from the 1820s to the 1990s created or received by Federal agencies in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. For more information, call 816-268-8000 or visit www.archives.gov/kansas-city/.
IN VIDEO ABOVE: Lt. Col. Richard Cole, shares his experiences before and during the raid. Set against the backdrop of the Yellow Rose, a 1944 Mitchell B-25, this is the first in a series of short films showcasing the the B-25 and it’s importance in World War II. Produced by Lee Kirgan’s Lifestory Films. Filmed at the Centex Wing of the Commemorative Air Force. Producer Chris Sommella, interviewer Mike O’Krent, audio by Everywhere Audio. Directed and filmed by Lee Kirgan. Special thanks to the Commemorative Air Force Central Texas Wing.