Richard E. Cole, Colonel
was the co-pilot of Doolittle's plane and the first off of the Hornet's deck, around 0800 (8:00 am ship time) April 18, 1942.
Close to 1330 (1:30 pm ship time), they dropped their first bombs on Tokyo.
They continued on toward China.
At 2120 (9:20pm ship time) after 13 hours in the air, and having covered nearly 2,250 miles, Cole
and the rest of his
crew bailed out over China.
enlisted November 22, 1940.
completed pilot training and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant, July, 1941.
remained in China-Burma-India until June, 1943 and served again in the China-Burma-India Theater from October, 1943 until June, 1944.
was relieved from active duty in January, 1947 but returned to active duty in August, 1947.
He was Operations Advisor to Venezuelan Air Force from 1959 to 1962.
peacetime service included posts in Ohio, North Carolina and California.
rated as Command Pilot
decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Medal with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster, the Bronze Star Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal and the Chinese Army
, Navy and Air Corps Medal, Class A, 1st Grade.