1 member of the Doolittle Raid remains as fellow airman dies
Stars and Stripes | .
published: June 24, 2016
COMFORT, Texas — Few men survive seven minutes into a suicide mission. David Thatcher and Richard Cole lived more than seven decades after theirs.
Both men were among 80 members of the Doolittle Raid on April 18, 1942, the United States’ first strike against Japanese mainland targets in World War II. The raid injected morale into the American public still reeling from the Pearl Harbor attacks that left thousands dead and a crippled fleet at the ravaged base in Hawaii.
Thatcher passed away Wednesday from a stroke at the age of 94 in Missoula, Montana, leaving Cole, 100, as the last surviving member of what could be called the most audacious and risky mission in American military history.
“It was really a surprise to hear he passed away. Dave was one of the youngest guys in the group,” Cole said Thursday in an exclusive interview with Stars and Stripes. “If I was a betting person, I’d say he would be the last person to go.”