National Archives at Kansas City

Last Surviving Member of Doolittle’s Raiders to Speak at 75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor Attack Event

National Archives at Kansas City

Press Release: November 16, 2016

For More Information Contact:
Kimberlee Ried, 816-268-8072

Kansas City (MO)… On Wednesday, December 7 at 6:30 p.m., the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the National Archives will co-host Lt. Col. Richard “Dick” Cole, 101 years old and the last surviving member of the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders, for a conversation on the significance of the air response that changed the course of World War II. The discussion, titled Before 9/11, there was a 12/7: Reflections of Doolittle Raider Dick Cole on World War II, will be held at the National World War I Museum and Memorial. A cash bar/small plates reception will precede the event at 6 p.m.

Admission to the event is free; however, due to the expected crowd, reservations are required, with seating on a first come, first served basis. To reserve a seat, visit

Cole will be joined on the stage by Dennis Okerstrom, Ph.D., Park University professor of English and the author of Dick Cole’s War: Doolittle Raider, Hump Pilot Air Commando. Okerstrom will present a brief history of the attack on Pearl Harbor and the U.S. response before introducing Cole, who served as co-pilot to Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle in the first B-25 to take off from the USS Hornet on April 18, 1942, in the U.S. air raid on Tokyo, Japan. Cole will discuss his wartime experiences and will answer questions from the audience, moderated by Okerstrom.

Despite the raid on Tokyo resulting in relatively minor damage to the Japanese city, Cole and all of the members of Doolittle Raiders, in recognition the tremendous boost their mission gave to American morale in World War II, 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.” The raid is credited by many historians as the critical factor of the Japanese defeat at the Battle of Midway, often cited as the turning point in the Pacific war.

This program is a partnership of Park University and the National World War I Museum and Memorial in collaboration with the National Archives at Kansas City, the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum, and the Truman Center at the University of Missouri – Kansas City.

The National Archives at Kansas City is home to historical records dating from the 1820s to the 1990s created or received by Federal agencies in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. For more information, call 816-268-8000 or visit us online.

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LPM/LE-KC 17-07