AF Leaders send Veterans Day message Published Nov. 11, 2013 WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Acting Secretary of the Air Force Eric Fanning, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Cody issued the following message to the Airmen of the United States Air Force: Two days ago, on Nov. 9, 2013, three of the four surviving Doolittle Raiders performed their final toast in honor of the 80 brave men who volunteered for a daring raid on Tokyo on April 18, 1942. Launching 16 B-25 bombers off the deck of the USS Hornet, the Doolittle Raiders struck at the heart of the enemy when the war in the Pacific looked bleak. The leadership, innovation and courage of those 80 Raiders set the standard for America’s Airmen. This may have been the Raiders final toast, but as long as there is a United States Air Force, Airmen will toast the Doolittle Raiders. This Veterans Day, we pay tribute to generations of men and women who have served and still serve in uniform. We celebrate veterans of every Service who have built the finest military the world has ever seen. And we honor their service which has protected this great republic for more than two centuries. To those who made the ultimate sacrifice, we owe a debt that can never be repaid. Today, we salute America’s veterans and their families. We thank all the veterans who embody the highest ideals of this Nation that we cherish so dearly…people like Lt. Col. Dick Cole, one of the four living Doolittle Raiders. He said of volunteering for the raid, “They had a note on the company bulletin board that they were looking for volunteers for a dangerous mission … I signed my name.” Happy Veterans Day!