- The Washington Times - Monday, July 3, 2017

President Trump spoke by phone with the last surviving member of the famed “Doolittle Raiders” to thank the 101-year-old veteran for his service as the nation marks Independence Day.

The White House said Mr. Trump “offered his best wishes and support” to retired Lt. Col. Dick Cole, a World War II veteran who was recently injured.

“The president congratulated Lt. Col. Cole on his courage, thanked him for his service, and wished him a full recovery in advance of his upcoming 102nd birthday,” the White House said of the Sunday phone call.

Mr. Cole was co-pilot of the lead B-25 bomber piloted by Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle during the surprise raid on Tokyo on April 18, 1942, which was a response to Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. Their attack inflicted some damage but, more important, stunned the Japanese people and raised morale in the U.S.

The bomber crews launched their aircraft from the USS Hornet knowing that they would not have enough fuel to return to friendly territory. Mr. Cole and the rest of his crew bailed out over China, received help from Chinese soldiers and civilians, as well as an American missionary in China.

Of the 80 pilots, navigators, engineers, bombardiers and gunners who took part in the raid, eight were captured by the Japanese who occupied China. One died of starvation in a prison camp and three others were executed.

(Note: The Washington Times interviewed the last five surviving members of the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders for the 70th anniversary in 2012. Watch the video below.)

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