Sole Surviving Doolittle Raid Veteran to Highlight World War II Heritage Days
PEACHTREE CITY, Georgia (April 3, 2017) –The only surviving veteran of the famed World War II Doolittle Raid over Japan will join other World War II heroes at the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Dixie Wing WWII Heritage Days April 22-23 at the CAF Dixie Wing Warbird Museum, Atlanta Regional Airport-Falcon Field, Peachtree City. Retired Lt. Col. Richard E. Cole, 102, served as Jimmy Doolittle’s copilot during the 1942 Doolittle Raid, as a “Hump” pilot during the China-Burma-India campaign, and finally as a C-47 pilot and Air Commando during the invasion of Burma. His wartime experiences are recounted in a book, “Dick Cole’s War.” A restored B-25 Mitchell like the one Cole flew also will be on display for the weekend.
Betty Bishop is returning to World War II Heritage Days representing the thousands of “Rosie the Riveter” women who worked the production lines in the 1940s, turning out aircraft, ships, weapons and other war materials as part of the “Arsenal of Democracy” that helped win the war. Bishop actually helped build the recently restored P-63 Kingcobra that is part of the CAF Dixie Wing Museum collection of operating aircraft.
“As the number of World War II veterans diminishes each day, we are proud to invite several of them and allow the public to get acquainted and hear their stories,” said Dixie Wing Leader Jay Bess. “Veterans and homefront workers are a key part of the purpose of WWII Heritage Days – an era of heroes that must never be forgotten.”
The Veterans Administration estimates fewer than 700,000 World War II veterans survive today.
The history festival is the largest WWII and 1940s-themed event in Georgia and a unique experience for anyone who enjoys nostalgia, big-band music, swing dance, historic aircraft and military vehicles, antique cars and vintage fashion. The program features reenactors portraying Axis and Allied troops, sailors, airmen and Women Army Service Pilots (WASP).
“The mission of WWII Heritage Days is to celebrate the 1940s, salute the Greatest Generation and inspire all ages to preserve the legacy of America’s veterans,” said Bess. “The event brings hundreds of participants and guests to the area from throughout the southeast.”
For more information, visit www.wwiidays.org.
About the CAF Dixie Wing Warbird Museum
The CAF Dixie Wing, based in Peachtree City, Georgia, was founded in 1987. The Wing, one of the largest units of the Commemorative Air Force, maintains and flies seven World War II aircraft including a P-51 Mustang, an FG-1D Corsair and rare types such as the SBD Dauntless dive bomber and P-63A Kingcobra. The Dixie Wing organizes two large events a year -- WWII Heritage Days and the CAF Atlanta Warbird Weekend. The unit, composed of 300 volunteers, is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization that relies on contributions of time and funds to carry out the mission of the CAF. For more information go to www.dixiewing.org.
The Commemorative Air Force is a non-profit organization dedicated to flying and restoring World War II aircraft. Based in Dallas, Texas, the organization has more than 11,000 members and operates a fleet of more than 165 World War II aircraft. www.commemorativeairforce.org