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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
https://www.washingtonpost.com/loca...0c3386-5b12-11e9-a00e-050dc7b82693_story.html

RIP, Colonel!

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The first crew of Doolittle Raiders, whose plane was the first to take off for a daring 1942 bombing of Japan. Lt. Col. James H. Doolittle and Lt. Richard E. Cole stand in front of Lt. Henry A. Potter, Staff Sgt. Fred A. Braemer and Staff Sgt. Paul J. Leonard. (U.S. Air Force)


Weighed down with extra gas, stripped of unnecessary equipment, the first of 16 twin-engine bombers roared to life. Early on April 18, 1942, it screamed down the flight deck of the USS Hornet aircraft carrier and took off into the skies.

Piloting the modified B-25 Mitchell plane that day was James H. Doolittle, a record-setting aviator and 45-year-old lieutenant colonel in the Army Air Forces. Seated to his right was co-pilot Richard E. Cole, a lieutenant nearly half his age.

For the next four hours, Jimmy and Dick, as they were called out of uniform, took turns tightly gripping their control yokes — manhandling the aircraft to keep it just 200 feet above the waves. Their destination was Tokyo, where the Doolittle Raiders, as their cohort became known, struck the first blow against Japan, lifting America’s spirits in the months after Pearl Harbor
 

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RIP Colonel, I wonder if their B-25 was one that had to
ditch to avoid being captured by the Japanese or from
an inability to reach the Chinese bases where the raiders
were intending to land.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Too bad that he didn't make it to the April 18th raid date anniversary … but at 103 y.o., hey!

As they reached Japan, Lt. Cole said he saw beachgoers waving. “It was kind of like flying in Miami,” he told the Dayton Daily News. Rising to about 1,500 feet, he and his crew dropped incendiary bombs and “got jostled around a bit by antiaircraft” fire before continuing on toward China.

All 16 planes emerged relatively unscathed. But with fuel dwindling and darkness falling, they hit a storm and appeared well short of reaching the mainland. They were saved by a tail wind that one pilot later described as the “hand of heaven,” and were instructed by Doolittle to prepare to bail out as they approached Japanese-occupied China.
Some 13 hours after departing the Hornet, Lt. Cole and his fellow airmen leaped into the darkness and rain. He had no formal parachute training, his daughter said, and pulled the rip cord on his parachute so hard he gave himself a black eye.

Lt. Cole landed in a pine tree about 10 feet off the ground, where he decided to spend the night, using his parachute as a hammock. At daybreak, he met up with a group of Chinese guerrillas who led him and many of the other airmen to safety.

Three Raiders died bailing out, and eight others were captured by Japanese forces in China. Of those, three were executed, and a fourth died in captivity. One crew landed in the Soviet Union, where they were imprisoned for more than a year before escaping into Iran.
 
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