Cape Gazette

Wings and Wheels: On the ground and in the air

Richard Cole, one of last surviving Doolittle's Raiders
By Ron MacArthur | Oct 11, 2013
Photo by: Ron MacArthur Panchito, one of the few remaining B-25s, is on display – and available for rides – during Wings and Wheels at Sussex County's airport in Georgetown. Owned by Larry Kelly, the historic airplane was restored in 1986. Getting his photo taken is Richard Cole, who piloted B-25s during World War II and volunteered for Doolittle's raid.

Summer-like weather and a chance to meet a World War II hero drew thousands to the sixth annual Wings and Wheels at Sussex County's airport in Georgetown. Sponsored by the Greater Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and the Delaware Aviation Museum, the event featured fly-ins by modern and vintage airplanes, plane rides, a large car show, World War II re-enactors, entertainment and vendors.

The highlight of this year's event was a visit by Richard Cole, one of four surviving members of the famed Doolittle raid. Serving as copilot to then Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle, Cole was one of 80 volunteers who on April 18, 1942, launched from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet in 16 B-25 Mitchell aircraft to bomb Tokyo. The crews knew they would have to land their planes or parachute out of them into China after making their bombing runs because the planes could not return and land on the Hornet.

Each year crew members have met in honor of the historic raid,  aimed at boosting morale in the United States following the devastating Dec. 7, 1941, surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.

The survivors had what is probably their final reunion this past summer at Elgin Air Force Base in Florida, where they had trained for their secret mission. Cole, 98, piloted the Panchito, a restored B-25, to a landing at the air base prior to the reunion.

Richard Cole, 98, is one of four surviving members of the famed Doolittle's raid over Tokyo April 18, 1942. Cole, who was Doolittle's copilot, attended the sixth annual Wings and Wheels in Georgetown Oct. 5. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Paul Yeager of Lewes has a unique set of wheels – a replica 1941 Russian military motorcycle with sidecar. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Don Sloan, pilot of this PT-17 Stearman, does some work on a wing after landing at the Sussex County airport. The bi-planes were used for training during World War II; many were sold and converted to crop dusters following the war. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Lauren and Erin Pieshala of Harrington are excited as they wait to take a helicopter ride. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Milton artist Paul Rendel is one of the leading aviation artists in the region. He displays his work at Wings and Wheels. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Dorothy Reichert finds a shady spot under an umbrella near a vintage Fairchild aircraft. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Planes and helicopters on the ground and in the air are part of the day-long Wings and Wheels. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Karen Snoots of Harbeson adds some tender loving care to the hood of a 1956 Chevy. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Raised hoods from a line of Corvettes glisten in the sun. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Visitors get up close to a few of the aircraft on display at Wings and Wheels. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
World War II veteran John K. Montgomery, 88, came from Baltimore to attend the event. He served on the USS California in the Pacific Theater from 1943 to 1945. As an 18-year-old, his job was to clean out the 14-inch and 15-inch guns on the battleship. The ship was rebuilt after being severely damaged at Pearl Harbor. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Gary Bunting of Harrington polishes his 1963 Ford Falcon. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
The Sussex Central High School Jr. ROTC honor guard stands at salute prior to opening ceremonies. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
With the B-25 Panchito serving as the backdrop, hundreds fill an airport hangar during the event's canteen the night before Wings and Wheels. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
World War II veteran Tom Creekmore of Long Neck and Rita D'Ascenzo dance to the music of the 1940s.
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