On April 20th, 2016, The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies inaugurated its first Airpower Heritage Salute. This year’s honoree was Lieutenant Colonel Dick Cole, USAF (Ret). Best known as Jimmy Doolittle’s co-pilot on the famed April 18, 1942 raid against Japan, Cole and his fellow flyers put everything on the line as their B-25 Mitchell bombers took off the deck of the USS Hornet and headed for Japan. Following this daring mission, Cole pioneered air supply over the Himalayas critical in keeping China in the war. His final combat assignment saw him fly with the First Air Commandos in the aerial invasion of Burma that marks the birth of Air Force Special Operations. After World War II, Cole continued to serve in the newly established US Air Force, retiring in 1966. To those of us looking back upon this incredible life marked by dedication to duty, one word stands above all when seeking to describe Cole: hero. Appraising the situation himself, he notes that he was “just doing his job.”
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.