Story thanks to Aerodrome Aviation Scout, Virg Hemphill.


Commemoration of Doolittle Raid’s 75th Anniversary will be held at this year’s AirVenture 2017 Aviation Extravaganza

June 7, 2017


Dick Cole by Mitchell Bomber at AirVenture 2012 – Lone surviving Raider at 100 years old.

The lone remaining veteran of the famed Doolittle Raiders mission of April 1942 and at least 16 B-25 bombers will be part of the raid’s 75th anniversary commemoration and air show activities at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2017.

The activities will honor those involved in the daring mission that included 16 B-25 bombers that departed from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet on April 18, 1942, and bombed military sites in Japan. The Doolittle Raiders, led by legendary pilot Jimmy Doolittle, then faced hardships after their airplanes made forced landings in China and other areas.

“The Doolittle Raid 75 years ago was important not as much for its military gains as it was a morale lift to an American military and public that had been buffeted by bad news in the months immediately following the attack on Pearl Harbor,” said Rick Larsen, EAA’s vice president of communities and member benefits who coordinates AirVenture features and attractions. “Our activities at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh this year will connect our attendees with the importance of this mission, as well as the people and aircraft involved.”

Among the highlights of the 75th anniversary commemoration will be an evening program on July 26 with 101-year-old Dick Cole, the only remaining member of the 80 original Doolittle Raiders, as well as Jimmy Doolittle’s grandchildren, Jimmy Doolittle III and Jonna Doolittle Hoppes.

“I want to thank EAA for honoring the Raiders at their 75th anniversary,” said Cole, who was copilot for Doolittle in the lead aircraft. “Thank you for paying tribute to us even though we never felt like heroes. We were just doing our job. We can also never forget the men who fought at Wake, Midway, and all across the Pacific. See you at Oshkosh.”

Other highlights include:

  • Arrival of at least 16 B-25 bombers at AirVenture by Tuesday, July 25, with the aircraft parked in AirVenture’s Warbirds area. Notable aircraft already confirmed include Panchito (Delaware Aviation Museum); Briefing Time (Mid-Atlantic Air Museum); Yankee Warrior (Yankee Air Museum); Miss Hap (American Airpower Museum); Barbie III (Cavanaugh Flight Museum); Devil Dog (Commemorative Air Force); and Miss Mitchell (Commemorative Air Force – Minnesota Wing).
  • Several programs at the popular Warbirds of America Warbirds in Review speaker series.
  • Sixteen B-25s flying in the warbirds air show on Tuesday, July 25, and re-enacting the 1942 Doolittle Raid to start the night air show on Wednesday, July 26.

Other highlights will be announced as they are finalized.

VIDEO below depicts the famous Raid’s evolution.  It is  2:43 Long

EAA’s Annual AirVenture 2017 Promotional Video is below.  It i 2:27 long

Dick Cole in 2017

 At the left, is another photo of General Mitchell’s co-pilot.  Dick was in the right seat during that historic B-25 raid that took off from a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier to bomb Tokyo soon after Pearl Harbor.  This picture was taken in Atlanta, GA, during the 75th Reunion of the Flying Tiger OrganizationDick is the last survivor of the Doolittle Raiders, he is now over 100 but he will once again return to Oshkosh this month – – – along with 16 flying B-25s.

One of Raiders takes off toward Tokyo in 1942

Lt. Col. Doolittle, pilot; Lt. Richard E. Cole, copilot; (back row) Lt. Henry A. Potter, navigator; SSgt. Fred A. Braemer, bombardier; SSgt. Paul J. Leonard, flight engineer/gunner. (U.S. Air Force photo) (We originally erred in names on this photo, but the sharp eye of Bill Madden, FASF Airfield Site Director, caught the goof! Now the names are all correct – Thanks, Bill.)


    1. RIC – Webmaster for FirstAeroSquadronFoundation's (FASF) website. Also the CEO of the 501C(c)(3) aviation history-oriented FASF non-profit, which is dedicated to the Birth Place of American Airpower and Rebirth Place of American Civil Aviation in 1916 & 1917 in Columbus, NM.

      Ouch! Thanks for the correction, Bill. Now I know why I kept looking at the name and wondering what was wrong. My memory seems faulty, but at least my intuition was awake! Nothing like getting an aircraft name confused with it’s pilot’s handle. Will make the correction PDQ.


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