Doolittle Tokyo Raiders Make Final Toast

Three of the four surviving Doolittle Tokyo Raiders made their final toast to their deceased comrades during an invitation-only ceremony at the National Museum of the US Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. “Gentleman, I propose a toast to those we lost on the mission and those who have passed away since. Thank you very much, and may they rest in peace,” said retired Lt. Col. Richard Cole, one of the three Doolittle Raiders present, in delivering the toast during the Nov. 9 event. Cole, retired Lt. Col. Edward Saylor, and retired SSgt. David Thatcher then drank from their silver goblets some of the 1896 cognac from the bottle that Cole had just opened. The Doolittle Raiders had saved that bottle for decades for the occasion of the final toast. Thereupon, the Raiders received a standing ovation from the hundreds gathered in the audience. Prior to the toast, there was the roll call of the crews of each of the 16 B-25s that took part in the Doolittle Raid, the daring bombing mission against Japan on April 18, 1942, just some four months after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. Acting Air Force Secretary Eric Fanning and Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh spoke at the ceremony. CMSAF James Cody also participated. The fourth surviving Doolittle Raider, retired Lt. Col. Bob Hite, could not attend due to health issues, but held his own tribute to his deceased colleagues last week at his home in Nashville, Tenn., reported Associated Press. Click here to continue to our full report.