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Tokyo raiders

USPS honors fateful World War II mission

Man sits on couch with woman and plaque
Dayton, OH, Customer Relations Coordinator Brenda Bodey presents Richard Cole with artwork that includes the special postmark.

The Postal Service recently offered a special cancellation postmark to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Doolittle Tokyo raid during World War II.

Richard Cole, 101, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and the last surviving raider, attended the postmark’s dedication ceremony in Ohio.

Cole is “a true American hero who reminds us all of the sacrifices our military men and women have made and continue to make for our country,” Dayton Customer Relations Coordinator Brenda Bodey said.

The raid occurred April 18, 1942, when a squadron of 16 B-25 bombers, each carrying a five-man crew, took off from the USS Hornet — a maneuver that had never been attempted before. The bombers flew into Tokyo and destroyed several military installations and oil storage facilities.

The bold mission — which inspired the movie “Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo” — was led by Col. Jimmy Doolittle, who died in 1993. Cole was his co-pilot.

“I felt pretty good that we had done what we were supposed to do,” Cole told CNN.

The mission’s success came at a heavy price. Some of the 80 raiders were captured and others died, include three executed by the Japanese.

“May they rest in peace,” Cole said.

The Postal Service’s news release has information on obtaining the postmark.

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