One Final Toast

The surviving Doolittle Tokyo Raiders will gather on Nov. 9 in Dayton, Ohio, at the National Museum of the US Air Force for their “final toast to their fallen comrades,” announced the museum on Thursday. Among those scheduled to attend the Raiders’ “goblet ceremony” are Air Force Acting Secretary Eric Fanning and Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh. All four surviving Raiders are currently planning to attend the by-invitation-only event, according to the museum. They are: retired Lt. Col. Richard Cole, retired Lt. Col. Bob Hite, retired Lt. Col. Edward Saylor, and retired SSgt. David Thatcher. “We are deeply honored that they have chosen to have this final ceremony at our national museum,” said museum Director Jack Hudson. The museum will also host a wreath-laying ceremony at the Doolittle Raiders memorial and a B-25 flyover, and will show Doolittle Raider and World War II-themed films, states the release. In April, Cole, Saylor, and Thatcher came together in northwest Florida for what they said would be the Raiders’ final public reunion. The Raiders, 80 in all and led by then-Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle, carried out a daring top-secret bombing mission over Tokyo on April 18, 1942, in 16 carrier-launched B-25 bombers. (Dayton report by Rob Bardua)