The final salute: Last surviving member of historic 1942 Doolittle bombing raid on Japan that avenged Pearl Harbor bids farewell to his comrade-at-arms


These men were giants. I fear we shan’t see their like again.


That they were. I had the honor of meeting a number of them, over several of their reunions, starting in 1995.

Lt. Col Cole (edging toward his 101th birthday, now), was Doolittle’s co-pilot. Somehow that seems fitting.


Jimmy Doolittle is unique in history for a few reasons. He is the only man to receive both the Medal of Honor and the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his service as a civilian. He was a record setting aviator and one of the developers of high octane aviation gas while working for Shell. He was also the first pilot to make a instrument only landing.

Most war heroes are awarded the Medal of Honor for spontaneous acts of heroism. Doolittle carefully planned and executed the Tokyo raid from the front that the Japanese and many Americans believed was impossible. He also had a hand in modifying the bombers so they could complete the mission. He was no seat of the pants aviator. He earned a PhD in aeronautical engineering at MIT.

We may never see another quite like him.


One can get a sense of that by reading his autobio I COULD NEVER BE SO LUCKY AGAIN.

And I twice missed a chance of meeting him.

It is ironic that the idea for the raid came from a submariner

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