Greetings Fellow Brothers and Sisters, Recently we lost two great American’s, Richard Cole and Robert McDaniel. These two gentlemen were the last two survivors of two very distinct units. Mr. Cole was part of the Doolittle raiders and Mr. McDaniel was a Tuskegee Airman. Both were the last surviving members of their respective units and they have left their Earthly bonds to be reunited with their brothers. In this month’s message on Americanism I will pay tribute to these fine Americans. Richard Cole served as the copilot on the lead plane and flew with the famed Jimmy Doolittle. He attended Ohio University and upon graduation enlisted in the Army Air Corps. He later was volunteered for what was described to him as a very dangerous mission. This mission was to become the Doolittle Raid or the bombing attack on Tokyo. Most of his life was spent flying in some form or fashion. He retired from the Air Force in 1967 as a Lieutenant Colonel with three distinguished flying crosses. He then moved to Texas and became a Citrus farmer. Dr. Robert McDaniel from Fort Worth Texas, graduated Valedictorian of his class at I.M. Terrell High School and earned a scholarship to Prairie View College. Three years later he was drafted into the Army and he served in the Aviation Cadet Training program. He trained as a bombardier and as a pilot at Tuskegee Institute, Morton Field. As a flight officer he flew the TB-25J. He was part of a group of 101 officers involved in an incident that led to the desegregation of officers clubs in the US Armed Forces. Post WWII Dr. McDaniel returned to Prairie View and earned his BS and MS degrees. On 3 February 2006, McDaniel was awarded an honorary doctoral degree from Tuskegee University. In 2007 President Bush award McDaniel and his comrades the Congressional Gold Medal of Freedom. In 2009 McDaniel was invited to the inauguration of President Obama. One of the last words he stated was that he lived a blessed life. In closing, I would like to state that we are blessed to have these two fine Airmen protect and defend us. They are true American hero’s that have set the example for future generations to follow. May they both rest in peace.
Thomas Carns, PER
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