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Richard Cole

Tokoyo Fliers

USAF - Tokyo Raid - On 18 April 1942, airmen of the US Army Air Forces, led by Lt. Col. James H. (Jimmy) Doolittle, carried the battle of the Pacific to the heart of the Japanese empire with a surprising and daring raid on military targets at Tokoyo, Yokohama, Yokosuka, Nagoya, and Kobe.

This historic attack against these major cities was the result of coordination between the Army Air Forces and the US Navy, which carried the sixteen North American b-25 medium bombers aboard the carrier USS Hornet to within take-off distances of the Japanese Islands.  Despite the rough seas this B-25 bomber becomes airborne on last leg of its journey to the Japanese mainland.

Tokoyo Fliers USAF - Tokyo Raid - On 18 April 1942, airmen of the US Army Air Forces, led by Lt. Col. James H. (Jimmy) Doolittle, carried the battle of the Pacific to the heart of the Japanese empire with a surprising and daring raid on military targets at Tokoyo, Yokohama, Yokosuka, Nagoya, and Kobe. This historic attack against these major cities was the result of coordination between the Army Air Forces and the US Navy, which carried the sixteen North American b-25 medium bombers aboard the carrier USS Hornet to within take-off distances of the Japanese Islands. Despite the rough seas this B-25 bomber becomes airborne on last leg of its journey to the Japanese mainland.

A vintage B-25 Mitchell bomber flies near the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, during a memorial flight honoring the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders on April 18, 2010.  The 68th Doolittle Raiders’ reunion commemorates the anniversary of the Doolittle Tokyo Raid.  On April 18, 1942, U.S. Army Air Forces Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle’s squad of 16 B-25 Mitchell aircraft bombed Japanese targets in response to the attack on Pearl Harbor. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Jacob N. Bailey)

A vintage B-25 Mitchell bomber flies near the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, during a memorial flight honoring the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders on April 18, 2010. The 68th Doolittle Raiders’ reunion commemorates the anniversary of the Doolittle Tokyo Raid. On April 18, 1942, U.S. Army Air Forces Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle’s squad of 16 B-25 Mitchell aircraft bombed Japanese targets in response to the attack on Pearl Harbor. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Jacob N. Bailey)

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Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Richard Cole was one of 80 men led by then Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle, assembled to execute a surprise attack over the islands of Japan in 1942.  It would be the first time any of them would take off from a carrier.  Armed with enough fuel for a one-way trip to Japan and a landing in China, they planned to launch off the USS Hornet about 450 miles from Japan.  The U.S. ships were spotted early and the Doolittle Raiders were forced to depart about 650 miles from their intended target.  The B-25s arrived from varying directions, confusing the Japanese.  The bombers hit their targets and escaped Japan of their own accord.  The mission was a success and it turned up the spirits of Americans during World War II. 

Cole remains active on his farm in Comfort, Texas