The revered World War II heroes will lift their goblets, sip their 117-year-old cognac and say good-bye to a decades-old tradition of gathering with their comrades to reflect on their contribution to American history. “It’s bittersweet,” said Wes Fields, who lives in Destin and has served as the Raiders’ security guard and escort for decades.He will attend the toast at the National Museum of the Air Force on Nov. 9. “You want to be involved in it, but in a sense you don’t because you dread it. It’s coming to an end,” Fields said.
Three of the remaining four Raiders — 98-year-old Lt. Col. Dick Cole, 93-year-old Lt. Col. Ed Saylor and 92-year-old Staff Sgt. David Thatcher — will attend their final toast. They will open the famed bottle of Hennessy Very Special cognac from 1896, the year Jimmy Doolittle was born.
Lt. Col. Robert Hite, 93, likely will not attend because of his health. Only about 1,000 people have been invited.