Taking Flight: WWII Bomber Pilot Turns 100 & Takes Us Back In History

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DALLAS- Lt. Col. Richard Cole celebrated the big 100 Monday! “Well, it's kind of a mixed feeling," Cole explained. “You wonder why you get to live to a 100 years and ‘Joe’ over there gets killed or dies at a younger age.”

Cole is one of two original members of the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders. He flew into history back in 1942 as one of the 80 men who volunteered on what was considered a 'suicidal' mission during WWII.

His crew flew 16 B-25`s on that bombing mission to retaliate after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Lt. Cole was the co-pilot on the first aircraft that dropped its bombs. Although that part of the mission was successful, Cole’s crew was forced to parachute out.

In fact, all but one of the B-25's either crash landed or the forced crews to eject. Seven of the Raiders died in the raid or were executed by the Japanese.

The Doolittle Raid was a turning point in the war and gave the country a much needed morale boost. All of the 80 Raiders received the Distinguished Flying Cross.

The screening of a new documentary called Doolittle's Raiders:  A Final Toast premiered Monday night at the Frontiers of Flight Museum.

And the guest of honor?  Lt. Col Richard Cole.

“We're pleased to have a special veteran,” Museum Director, Bruce Blekley said. “A gentleman who's celebrating his 100th birthday today as well.”

Hey, that's a good way to celebrate an historic birthday!

“The way I look at it is, I’m going to live until Mother Nature and the good Lord say, "That's all brother," Cole added.