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Honoring a legend: The last surviving Doolittle Tokyo Raider dies at 103

Lt. Col. Richard E. Cole passed away Tuesday morning.
Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Gwendalyn Smith
Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Richard Cole (retired), the last surviving Doolittle Raider, visits with friends, family, and Airmen during his birthday.

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — The last surviving member of the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders, who helped strike the Japanese homeland after Pearl Harbor, has passed away.

Retired Lt. Col. Richard E. Cole passed away around 7:30 a.m. Tuesday morning at the age of 103, the president of the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders Association confirmed. His daughter Cindy Cole and son Richard Cole were by his side. 

He was scheduled to make a public appearance at Dolphin Aviation but had to cancel his visit after he was hospitalized in San Antonio.

The World War II veteran lived on a ranch in Comfort, Texas.

Memorial services are expected to be announced soon at Randolph Air Force Base soon, and he will be interred with full honors at Arlington National Cemetery. There will also be a ceremony held in his honor at the National Air Force Museum.

Cole was Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle's co-pilot in the No. 1 bomber during the 1942 Japanese air raids, the Air Force Times reports. The Doolittle Raid was the United State's first operation to strike the Japanese homeland after Pearl Harbor. 

"His silver goblet" will be "turned over to join his other seventy nine Raider comrades," the president of the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders Association, Thomas Casey said in a statement to 10News.

Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Gwendalyn Smith
Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Richard Cole, the last surviving Doolittle Raider, participates in a toast during his 103rd birthday celebration Sept. 7, 2

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