Remembering Lt Col Dick Cole – 1915-2019
Surviving Doolittle Raider, Lt Col Dick Cole and Panchito owner, Larry Kelley recently in Florida at the EAA show
UPDATE: Lt Col Dick Cole looks to be making a return visit to Georgetown for Wings & Wheels 2018. So long as his health allows, he will once again make the trip from Texas to Delaware. At 103 at the time of the event this year, he continues to amaze most of us. Dick likes coming to Wings & Wheels and spending the weekend with us, staying at the Brick Hotel, where he and his family are welcomed and taken care of. Keep your fingers crossed that he will be able to join us!
Lt Col Dick Cole was copilot to Jimmy Doolittle on April 18, 1942, during World War II, when 16 B-25 bombers flew off the deck of the USS Hornet aircraft carrier to bomb Japan.
COMFORT — Dick Cole is fond of saying he’s a big believer in luck and never tried to manufacture it.
Not that he had to.
Luck, like serendipitous moments and sweet victories in love and war, just came his way. Take the time his B-25B pilot, Capt. Vernon Stintzi, fell ill with an ulcer as training neared for a secret mission.
Cole, fearing the entire crew would be scratched, asked the mission commander to keep them on. It was a bold request for a second lieutenant out of flight training at Randolph Field, but Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle did him one better, taking Stintzi’s seat on their plane.
“That might have been the luck. Not for (Stintzi), but for me,” Cole said softly, laughing. “For me and the rest of the crew.”
On April 9, 2019 we lost the last remaining Doolittle Raider and friend to Wings & Wheels, Lt Col Richard Cole. Col Cole graced our event over the last 5 years and was always a crowd favorite as well as local favorite. Despite his age, Dick loved coming to Georgetown DE, staying at The Brick Hotel and meeting anyone he came in contact with. We began the honor of hosting Dick and his daughter Cindy, along with longtime Doolittle Raider Manager, Tom Casey, through his friendship with Larry Kelley, owner of B25 Mitchell Bomber, Panchito. We were almost lucky enough to host a 100th birthday party for Dick in 2015, but a hurricane grounded him. But that didn’t stop us from celebrating on his 101st birthday in 2016. The Wings & Wheels committee will always be grateful & feel privileged to have known Lt Col Cole, our American Hero – RIP Dick, you are now with 79 of your closest friends. Today we toast you!!!
. It was a fun and historic night, with a hangar full of people paying tribute .