OKALOOSA COUNTY, Fla. (WKRG) — April 18 marks the 80th anniversary of the Doolittle Tokyo Raid in World War II. The 80 men launched the first retaliatory strike against Japan following Pearl Harbor.
Monday in Okaloosa County, the last Doolittle raider to pass away was honored with a special ceremony.
In 1959 every Doolittle raider was presented a silver goblet. At the Mattie Kelly Arts Center in Niceville, more than 1,600 people witnessed the final goblet for Lt. Col. Richard E. Cole turned over.
“My sister and I are so happy that he lived so long. We got so used to him being around all the time. But it is the end of an era and we are happy to get some closure from this.”Dr. Rich Cole, son of Lt. Col. Richard E. Cole.
Cole passed away at 103 years old in 2019. Cole was the co-pilot for the leading plane in the attack.
The crews trained in Okaloosa County before launching the one-ton bombs.
A 29-plane flyover will take place along the coast to honor the raid and the United States Air Forces’ 75th anniversary.
Lt. Col. Dr. Rich Cole (retired) will be on the leading plane for the flyover. The show begins at 5 pm and can be viewed from Mary Esther to the Destin Pass. The boardwalk on Okaloosa Island will be center stage.