Linda Henman celebrates leadership and American heroism with a look back at the Doolittle Raiders, who faced near certain defeat with immense courage and in doing so, turned the tide of WWII on the Japanese front.
On April 9, 2019, America lost another
hero, Lt. Col. Richard Cole, the last of the 80 Doolittle Raiders. He was 103. At
the age of 26, Richard Cole did not set out to become a hero, but he did.
In 1942, the very notion of an attempt
by America — which was ill-prepared for any sort of warfare — to make a direct
assault on Japan’s superpower was almost inconceivable, but FDR would not be
On April 18, 1942, 80 men, most of them
scarcely out of their teens — but one in the middle of middle age — took off
from a Navy carrier in the Pacific. The action bolstered U.S. morale and slowed
the Japanese offensive.
When the group of volunteers first
assembled, Lt. Col. James Doolittle informed them that the mission would be
highly secret, dangerous, important and interesting — and some of them probably
wouldn’t return. In spite of his warning, Doolittle didn’t lose a man.
One of the volunteers, Richard Cole,
served as the co-pilot on Jimmy Doolittle’s plane. From that vantage point, Cole
had the opportunity to observe what Doolittle said and did before, during and
after the raid….