• Doolittle Raiders

  • For Immediate Release

    Doolittle Raiders Final Goblet Ceremony

    April 18, 2022

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  • Witness History as Doolittle Raiders Honored with "Final Goblet" Ceremony

    Hosted by the Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce and Northwest Florida State College (Home of the Raiders)


    (FORT WALTON BEACH, FL - February 8, 2022), On April 18, 2022, the Greater Fort Walton

    Beach Chamber of Commerce will host the "Final Goblet" a ceremony that will mark the passing of Doolittle Raider, Col. Richard E. "Dick" Cole. Since April 1947, a ceremonial "roll call" has honored the eighty Doolittle Raiders. Cole and all of the members of Doolittle Raiders were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in May 2014 "for outstanding heroism, valor, skill, and service to the United States in conducting their bombings of Tokyo." Many historians’ credit the raid as the critical factor of the Japanese defeat at the Battle of Midway, often cited as the turning point in the Pacific war.


    Col. Richard E. "Dick" Cole's son, Retired Air Force Lt. Col. (Dr.) Rich Cole shares this statement from the family, "The Cole family is deeply honored and appreciative of the Okaloosa County Community hosting the Goblet Ceremony for our Dad, Col. Richard E. "Dick" Cole, on April 18, 2022. As the last member of this historic mission to pass away, the turning of his goblet signifies the passing of the generation of men and women who were willing to stand against tyranny and evil at any cost. It is a bittersweet moment. While there is great sadness at their passing, there is also a great celebration of their sacrifice and the legacy of their courage. We are thankful to celebrate this moment in the city where it all began."


    Scheduled to be held at the Northwest Florida State College, special guests include invited attendees, Raider family members, government officials, and military dignitaries. Eighty active duty airmen from Eglin Air Force Base and Hurlburt Field will sit among family members to represent each Doolittle Raider during the ceremony.


    Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce President, Ted Corcoran, provides insight into what hosting the historical event means to the local community, "Fort Walton/Okaloosa County has had a front-row seat for everything Doolittle Raiders. From their initial training in March 1942 to their reunions in 1957 and 1968 to the training re-enactment Homecoming at Duke Field we scheduled in 2008 to their 71st Final Reunion in 2013—it has been an amazing adoration from our community. We have numerous roads, buildings, and of course, the NWF State College Raiders— all named in their honor. We were so lucky to have Lt Col Dick Cole return several times after that final reunion—with visits to the Bases and Armament Museum. The silver goblets created by the citizens of Tucson, AZ, in 1959, is arguably one of the most significant traditions in all World War II soldier history. For our community to have the opportunity to witness the Final Goblet is so bittersweet—indeed the end of a history of Legends 80 years after the raid—and one last chance for us all to pass along the story of the Raiders to our grandchildren."


    For more details, visit www.fwbchamber.org/Doolittleraiders. Tickets will be available online beginning March 7, 2022, at www.mattiekellyartscenter.org.

    This event is sponsored by the following outstanding Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of

    Commerce Members:  Bank of England Mortgage,  Bit-Wizards, Eglin Federal Credit Union,

    Emerald Coast Harley Davidson, Florida Power and Light,  Image Printing and Digital Services, MAG Aerospace, Manor at Bluewater Bay, Okaloosa Gas, Step One Automotive Group, Talking Parents and Vertex Solutions.

    The Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce has had the incredible privilege to have participated in both the 1957 and 1968 Doolittle Raider reunions, held here in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, and planned the 2008 Raider Homecoming re-enactment ceremony as well as hosted the 2013 Farewell Tribute —The Raiders 71st and Final Reunion.


  • Doolittle Raiders Final Goblet Ceremony

    April 18, 2022

    Mattie Kelly Arts Center/Northwest Florida State College

    Click here to buy your tickets now!

    This event will be held on the Campus of Northwest Florida State College in the Mattie Kelly Arts Center at 1:00 pm;  General Admission tickets will be available for $10.00 and  purchased at Mattie Kelly Arts Center Box Office 850-729-6000 or by visiting the website at mattiekellyartscenter.org.  Buy tickets now!





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  • Doolittle Raiders Final Goblet Ceremony, April 18, 2022
  • The Doolittle Raiders Story
    Frank L. Goldstein, PhD Col. USAF Ret.
    Creator: NWFSC Doolittle Exhibit
    Author: The Last Reunion: The Jimmy Doolittle Tokyo Raiders

    When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, they did more than enter the US into WWII. They started a chain of events that led to one of the most audacious military missions of WWII and the creation of a legend, honoring 80 brave hero’s, who will be forever known as The Doolittle Raiders.

    After the Pearl Harbor attack, President Roosevelt wanted to strike back. Unfortunately the US had no bases within reach of Japan, or ships to get there or any strategic aircraft that could fly there. A creative idea was postulated to use medium bomber aircraft launching from on a Navy carrier so as to get close enough to Japan to execute a raid. A never before tried idea. The B-25 was the only medium US bomber capable of a one way carrier mission.

    Aviation legend, Lt. Col. James Doolittle, an Army Air Corp Reserve officer who returned to active duty before Pearl Harbor was picked as commander. Doolittle needed units who had flying experience with the B-25 such as the 17th Bombardment Group at Pendleton Field, Oregon, which featured the 34th, 37th and 95th Bomb Squadrons and the 89th Recon Squadron. Major J. Hilger commander of the 89th was selected as Doolittle’s deputy. All planes and men were transferred to Columbia, SC for refitting. A call for volunteers was made and every man enlisted and officer stepped forward. A final selection of 24 crews were chosen, plus associated mechanics, armorers and other personnel who all proceeded to Eglin Field, Florida.

    The majority of the Crews arrived at Eglin Field on March 1, 1942. The Key training support were Maj. J. Hilger, Capt.’s E. York, D. Jones, C. Greening, Navy Lt. H. Miller, Maj. H. Johnson (adjutant), Lt. Hoover (supply officer) and Lt. J. Stork (photographic officer).

    When authors write that this mission and these men changed the course of the war it is not hyperbole. These men created or caused the creation of state of the art firing techniques and training for gunners, deception, tail guns, “Mark Twain” bomb sights, cluster incendiary bombs, low altitude bombing and nape of the earth flying. Dual qualification individuals like Dr. (1st Lt.) T. R. White, flight surgeon but a mission gunner first.
    As the crews trained at Eglin, Doolittle managed permission to lead the raid himself. Upon his return from Washington, a pilot, Capt. V. Stinzi became ill. In Doolittle’s own words, “it expedited my opportunity to declare myself the replacement.” His crew was co-pilot Lt. R. Cole; navigator Lt. H. Potter; bombardier Sgt. F. Braemen and engineer gunner Sgt. P. Leonard.
    While the crews trained at Eglin, some of the wives joined them. Security was tight and no one knew the mission, but the community embraced the crews and several Raiders made Eglin/Ft. Walton Beach home after the war. The truth was, Eglin Field and Ft. Walton Beach was their first team home.

    On March 22, 1942, they flew to McClellan Army Air Field in Sacramento, California. The mission was on. Only 22 planes and crews were flying to California, where they were to rendezvous with the USS Hornet, a new carrier making its way from the East Coast. Prior to the Crews arriving, two B-25’s had taken off early in mission planning as a proof of concept. All other crews returned to Columbia, SC.
    The original plan called for 18 aircraft to be loaded on the USS Hornet. However upon arrival, Doolittle was told only 15 planes could go. He asked if could load a 16th plane to take off after departure to show crews it was possible. The 16th plane was approved and once at sea, kept for the mission.

    The Hornet was part of Task Force 16.2 consisting of ships Nashville, Vincennes, Gwin, Meredith, Monssen, Grayson, Cimarron and submarines Trout and Thresher all under command of Captain Mitscher. On April 12th they joined Admiral Halsey and Task Force 16.1 with carrier Enterprise to provide air cover. Ships of Task Force 16.1 were Northampton, Salt Lake City, Balch, Benham, Ellet, Fanning and Sabine.
    As the USS Hornet sailed out of San Francisco Bay, Doolittle and his men wondered when they would see home again. This mission was different, for some it was their last view, for others years away and for all, it would not be the same again.

    On April 18, the Raiders made preparations for take-off the following day. Then “trouble” struck. Enterprise radar picked up a Japanese vessel. Enterprise aircraft sighted another vessel 42 miles away and cruiser Vincennes spotted a Japanese vessel only 12 miles away. Nashville opened fire and sank the boat. The Japanese vessels had reported the task force. Japan had stationed a fleet of picket line vessels 600/800 miles off Japan and knew a carrier force was approaching. The good news, the Japanese concluded the carriers would have to get within 300 miles and viewed them not an immediate threat. Admiral Halsey and Doolittle acted decisively and ordered the launch. The planes took off a day earlier than planned. They would bomb in daylight instead of night and arrive in China in darkness. Most disturbing, with the early launch they didn’t have enough gas to reach China—the scheduled landing location for all crews.

    Each crew has an amazing story—of which we could not cover all here.

    The mission was a total success and more. The Raiders did damage, but not enough to slow Japan’s ability to make war. All aircraft, except one that went to Russia, made it to China where, due to zero-zero weather and no fuel, were forced to ditch or bail out. Of the 80 men, eight were captured, three were executed, one died in prison, one died bailing out and two drowned on ditching. Damage to targets was superficial, but the boost to American morale in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor was immeasurable. It also caused Japan to withdraw its powerful aircraft carrier force from the Indian Ocean to defend their Home Islands, and the raid contributed to Admiral Yamamoto's decision to attack Midway—an attack that turned into a decisive rout of the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) by the U.S. Navy near Midway Island in the Central Pacific. Most of the survivors were able to fly and fight again. Thirteen were killed in other WWII action and four became German prisoners. All were awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. Jimmy Doolittle was promoted to Brigadier General and awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. The Japanese army conducted a massive search for the Raiders. In the
    process whole towns and villages suspected of harboring the Americans were burned to the ground and many civilians executed. Chinese estimates put the death toll at 250,000 civilians.

    During their final preparations for the Raid, Lt Col Doolittle promised a party post raid. He kept his promise but had to wait until 1945 and he paid the bill. That party started the yearly reunions with communities vying for hosting the events. At the 1959 reunion in Tucson, AZ the community presented the Raiders goblets engraved with the name of each Raider. At reunions the goblet of those who had passed were turned over, followed by a toast.

    In 1956, as a birthday gift, Hennessey gave Gen. Doolittle a bottle of 1896 cognac—his birth year. The Raiders agreed that the bottle would be saved for the final toast when only two raiders were left.

    The 71st and Last Reunion took place on April 18, 2013 at Ft. Walton Beach, Florida, The Raiders had come full circle.

    After the 71st Reunion two historical events happened. First, three of the four surviving Raiders agreed to have the final toast on Nov 9, 2013 at Wright Patterson Base, Dayton Ohio. Secondly, the Raiders received the Congressional Gold Medal on April 5, 2015.

    The final goblet ceremony takes place this April 18, 2022 as the goblet of the last Doolittle Raider Col. Richard “Dick” Cole is turned over to join the rest of eighty incredible men who gave their country the pinnacle of teamwork, courage, creativity, dedication, commitment, innovation and fellowship.

    The crews: Crew #1, Doolittle, Cole, Potter, Braemer, and Leonard; Crew #2 Hoover, Fitzhugh, Wildner, Miller and Radney; Crew #3, Gray, Manch, Ozuk, Jones and Faktor; Crew #4 Holstrom, Youngblood, McCool, Stephens and Jordan; Crew #5 Jones, Wilder, McGurl, Truelove and Manske; Crew #6 Hallmark, Meder, Nielsen, Dieter and Fitzmaurice; Crew #7 Lawson, Davenport, McClure, Clever and Thatcher; Crew #8 York, Emmens, Herndon, Laban and Pohl; Crew #9 Watson, Parker, Jr., Griffin, Bissell and Scott; Crew #10 Joyce, Stork, Crouch, Larkin and Horton (Ed Horton was added to the crew late from the pool of extra crew members on board for his armament skills); Crew #11 Greening, Reddy, Kappeler, Birch and Gardner; Crew # 12 Bower, Blanton, Pound, Bither and Duquette; Crew #13 McElroy, Knobloch, Campbell, Bourgeois and Williams; Crew #14 Hilger, Sims, Macia, Bain and Eierman; Crew #15 Smith, Williams, Sessler, White and Saylor; Crew # 16 Farrow, Hite, Barr, DeShazer and Spatz. As incredible as the raid was it was not without cost, eight Raiders lost their lives. Three on the mission, three by Japanese execution and one by Japanese starvation/murder. The raid was not the end of combat for the Raiders. Dick Cole flew in the Burma Theater, others flew in Europe and the Middle East. 13 of the Raiders died by the end of WWII.