On April 18, 1942, 80 men achieved the unimaginable when they took off from an aircraft carrier on a top secret mission to bomb Japan. These men, led by Lt. Col. James H. “Jimmy” Doolittle, came to be known as the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders.
Today, just one of the men survive: Lt. Col. Richard “Dick” E. Cole, who served as Doolittle’s co-pilot on Crew Number 1. Cole, now 101 years old, returned to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the raid and to pay tribute to fellow Raider SSgt. David Thatcher, who passed away in 2016.
Eleven B-25 Mitchell bombers were on static display on the runway behind the museum on April 17-18. There was a B-25 formation flyover prior to the start of a memorial service on 18 April, there was also a "Missing Man" formation and finally two B-1's from Ellsworth AFB flew over at the conclusion of the memorial service. In addition their were book signings by several authors, and a special film screening on the evening of April 18 of “Doolittle’s Raiders: The Final Toast.”