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JAMES FRANCIS COLEMAN

  • Wall Name:JAMES F COLEMAN
  • Date of Birth:8/4/1947
  • Date of Casualty:2/29/1968
  • Home of Record:FESTUS
  • County of Record:JEFFERSON COUNTY
  • State:MO
  • Branch of Service:ARMY
  • Rank:SGT
  • Panel/Row:42E, 2
  • Casualty Province:KONTUM

JOHN WILLIAM COOK JR

JOHN WILLIAM
COOK JR
  • Wall Name:JOHN W COOK JR
  • Date of Birth:1/15/1949
  • Date of Casualty:2/29/1968
  • Home of Record:ATLANTA
  • County of Record:FULTON COUNTY
  • State:GA
  • Branch of Service:ARMY
  • Rank:SP4
  • Panel/Row:42E, 3
  • Casualty Province:GIA DINH

JOHN W COOK


is honored on Panel 42E, Row 3 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Leave a Remembrance

REMEMBRANCES

  • Remembering An American Hero

    Posted on 8/27/15 - by Curt Carter ccarter02@earthlink.net
    Dear WO John W Cook, sir

    As an American, I would like to thank you for your service and for your sacrifice made on behalf of our wonderful country. The youth of today could gain much by learning of heroes such as yourself, men and women whose courage and heart can never be questioned.

    May God allow you to read this, and may He allow me to someday shake your hand when I get to Heaven to personally thank you. May he also allow my father to find you and shake your hand now to say thank you; for America, and for those who love you.

    With respect, Sir

    Curt Carter
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  • Final Mission of U.S. Army helicopter UH-1D tail number 66-16282

    Posted on 3/22/13 - by wkillian@smjuhsd.org

    There are four accounts of this incident: First Account - SSGT Melvin C. Dye was the crew chief and SSGT Robert S. Griffith the door gunner aboard a UH-1H helicopter performing an emergency extraction mission in Laos. They were extracting a reconnaissance patrol team consisting of three U.S. Army Special Forces personnel and three indigenous personnel. The aircraft carried a crew of four. SFC Douglas J. Glover was one of the Special Forces personnel aboard. As the helicopter picked up the team four miles inside Laos west of Dak Sut, it received a heavy volume of small arms fire. It is not known whether the aircraft was hit by hostile fire or hit a tree, but it nosed over, impacted the ground and exploded, bursting into flames. The pilot, co-pilot WO1 John W. Cook, and one passenger, SSGT Fred W. Zabitosky, managed to leave the aircraft. Because of the fire and exploding small arms ammunition, rescue attempts for the others were futile. Cook died 10 days later in Japan from burns. Zabitosky was awarded the Medal of Honor. Zabitosky's story is in the February 1996 issue of Vietnam magazine. There were six U.S. and three indigenous personnel aboard the helicopter. When search teams reached the site the same day, they could not account for the other U.S. personnel. Five were accounted for, but could not be recovered because of intense heat. Second Account - Special Forces Staff Sergeant Fred W. Zabitosky was at the end of a normal six-month active mission cycle with FOB 2 based at Kontum. He was the One-Zero, team leader, of Reconnaissance Team (RT) Maine but on this mission was helping SFC Douglas J. Glover become the new team leader, so 'Zab' was the One-One, assistant team leader. On February 18, 1968, RT Maine was inserted into 'The Bra,' the river curve where Highway 110 split eastward from Highway 96, the Ho Chi Minh Trail's major north-south route. Their mission was to learn whether the NVA were pulling back, reinforcing or resupplying their Tet offensive activities in the Central Highlands. Not long after their insertion, they made and broke contact. There were at least two other RTs active in this same area, so they had to wait their turn for airstrikes and worked their way back to the LZ. The NVA had set up 12.7mm guns around the LZ and the USAF Covey FAC could see at least four NVA companies converging on the LZ. The NVA launched two assaults on the nine-man team's position but were stopped by napalm, cannon fire, and the team's weapons. Covey had the team run 150 yards to an alternate LZ. The first slick lifted out one SF and two Yards (Montagnards) which left Zab, Glover and four Yards still on the ground. The NVA then struck in four successive waves which were all stopped but the team was almost out of ammo. It was now or never. The second slick went in as gunships and jets blasted the area. Both the NVA and Maine seemed to be racing for the helicopter. The door gunners and the SOG men were shooting like mad. Zab recalls that the NVA were so close that blood from one he shot splatted the Huey. They were 75 feet up and almost clear of the LZ when an RPG blast rocked the Huey, spinning the tail boom into the main blades. Zab came to about 20 feet from the Huey and rolled clumsily on the ground to extinguish his burning clothes. The Huey had snapped in two just behind the pilots' section and burned furiously. The troop compartment lay on its side and Zab heard the final cries from the three Americans and four Yards in the burning wreckage. Zab moved away from the wreckage then looked back to see the pilots still strapped in the burning nose section. He returned, opened the door and grabbed the semiconscious WO1 John W. Cook and pulled him out. Everything was burned off the man except his leather gun belt. The pilot was still inside. Zab could feel his flesh burning as he undid the pilot’s harness. The fuel cells exploded in the other section and blew both Zab and the pilot clear. Overhead SF medic Luke Nance had watched these events in horror but had seen Zab. The pilot made a couple of passes and confirmed there were survivors. This ship landed. Together Nance and Zab carried and dragged the two burned pilots to the Huey and they escaped. SSG Fred Zabitosky received the Medal of Honor for his actions that saved the lives of two 57th AHC pilots. Sadly, WO1 Cook passed away ten days later in Japan due to burn related injuries. Third Account - The Department of Defense POWMissing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of three servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors. Army Staff Sgt. Robert S. Griffith, of Hapeville, Ga., will be buried on Oct. 23 in Fairburn, Ga. The group remains of the other two soldiers which could not be individually identified -- Army Staff Sgt. Melvin C. Dye, of Carleton, Mich., and Sgt. 1st Class Douglas J. Glover, of Cortland, N.Y., will be buried at a later date. The men were aboard a UH-1H Iroquois helicopter on Feb. 19, 1968, when it was shot down by enemy fire in Laos. They were involved in an attempt to extract a long-range reconnaissance patrol in the mountains of Attapu Province. Three other American service members survived the crash and were rescued, but three Vietnamese Montagnards did not survive. Several hours after the crash, a team was dispatched to survey the location and reported seeing remains of at least five people. Enemy activity prevented remains recovery at that time. The following month a second team was sent to the crash site but found no remains. In 1995, a joint U.S.-Lao People’s Democratic Republic team traveled to the recorded grid coordinates for the crash site but found no evidence of a helicopter crash. The team then surveyed a second location in the area where they found helicopter wreckage and human remains. In 2006, a follow-on team was not able to resurvey the same site due to severe overgrowth and time constraints. Another team excavated the location in late 2007 recovering human remains, wreckage and military-related equipment. Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from the Joint POWMIA Accounting Command used dental x-rays in the identification of Griffith’s remains. Fourth Account - The above story by the Department of Defense on 10 October 2010 concerns lost crewmen from the unit that I (then a Captain and unit maintenance officer) was honored to serve with in Kontum, Vietnam (my second Vietnam tour) during the 1967-1968 timeframe. I remember the faces of four crewmen well. They were a great crew and team; most dependable troops who took excellent care of their helicopter and each other. The best of a great generation that was given so little credit by an unappreciative peoplenation and deceitful government. Return of Vietnam War related remains is so very important to our veterans and the lost soldiers' families because it helps with closure of wounds related to the conflict. The 300 or so men in this unit that normally had assigned 29 UH1H helicopters were among the finest and bravest that I saw during a 35 year active duty career. They lived in one of the most adverse and dangerous field environments and were occasionally subjected to 122mm Katusha Rocket attacks (similar to those rockets being deployed against the Israelis today) and other types of harassing ground attacksfire. They were undeterred by the daily dangers they faced, worked hard, maintained safe aircraft, and flew challenging missions. I learned something from them almost daily. The aircraftcrew loss described below was the second loss (both attributed to combat action) after the unit arrived in Kontum (Central Highlands) in October 1967 after nine months of training at Fort Bragg, NC. However, it was the first to suffer crew losses. My recollection is that these very dangerous cross border missions were flown by the unit for six of the first 12 months the 57th was in country. Missions were highly classified since the US would not publicly acknowledge operating in Laos and Cambodia at the time. As a matter of interest, I should point out that during the six weeks prior to the loss of this aircraft, our unit had lost many brave soldiers (six killed and over two dozen wounded) and nine aircraft due to two major ground attacks by North Vietnamese troops. Per unit records, several other aircraftcrews were lost before the unit was deactivated or left country in mid-1972. If my memory serves me correctly, the 57th was close to the last Assault Helicopter Company to leave at the conclusion of direct combat by US forces. Believe me, with the discovery of the two crewmen's remains, the unit now has only six lost crewmen whose remains have yet to be found (classified as body not returned). Hope the story shows you how remarkable the Vietnam era soldiers were in dealing with tough missions and maintaining their sanity at the time. Interesting details of many more of the Special Operations Group Missions conducted by SOG Central and flown by the 57th and other aviation units at the time can be found in two excellent paperback books by John Plaster; the one entitled 'SOG' is the only title I can remember. These books are available at Amazon, Borders, Barnes and Noble, etc. May God richly bless all that served in our nations wars and the families that stood by their sides. (From Hubert 'Hugh' G. Smith, Lieutenant General, U.S. Army, Retired (1997) [Taken from vhpa.org]

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  • We Remember

    Posted on 2/10/11 - by Robert Sage rsage@austin.rr.com
    John is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
  • Names With Faces

    Posted on 3/19/10
    RIP my friend
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  • A Tribute to a Great Friend

    Posted on 10/13/04 - by Bob Gladson rlgladson@yahoo.com
    My friend John W.W. Cook was born in Blythe, California on December 13, 1946. We first got acquainted around 1961 when we were about 15 years old.

    He loved flying. That came naturally to him as his father was a pilot in WWII and stayed in aviation the rest of his life. His dad (John William Cook) still holds the world endurance flight record for fixed wing aircraft. That record may be seen in the Guiness Book of World Records. John loved to tell the story about how the record was set flying endless circuits around the desert near Las Vegas, Nevada. John was about 12 years old then, so he remembered his dad’s adventure well. Sometimes he talked about one day going after that record and making it a full 100 days airborne, which was the original goal of the Cook/Timm team which set the record in 1958. He laughed about how nobody else would ever go for the record because nobody else was crazy enough to spend more than 65 days in the air. And time has proven him right as no one has done it to this day.

    Another thing John wanted to do one day was to help his dad restore the old Stearman biplane stored in pieces out in the garage. John earned his private pilot’s license when he was 16 and he wanted to add that Stearman to the list of aircraft he had flown.

    He added several helicopters to that list when he joined the Army and became a Huey pilot in the Vietnam war.

    In a way, the rescue attempt which took him from us typified what I remember best about him. . . he was a true friend through and through. He was loyal to his friends, his family, his country and would never let any of us down. Those who knew him best knew that, if they were ever in any trouble anywhere in the world, his response upon hearing of it would surely be, “Where are you? What do you need? I’ll be there as fast as I can!” And he would do exactly that.

    I can’t remember him ever saying a disrespectful or unkind word to or about his parents. He treated all his friends that way too. He loved to kid around and would swap wisecracks with his buddies, but there was never any doubt that it was only in fun.

    When he received orders, he marched off to Vietnam like so many other young men of our generation. But . . . our Johnny didn’t come marching home. February 29, 1968 he died as a result of his wounds and burns when his helicopter was shot down near Dak To, Vietnam in a brave attempt to rescue a team of American and Vietnamese infantrymen who were under heavy attack and in a tight spot.

    All these years later, his loss is still felt keenly by all who knew him and loved him. We love his memory and are grateful and proud to have known him as a true and loyal friend. I believe you would be too.
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The Wall of Faces

Brought to you by the organization that built The Wall, the Vietnam Veterans Virtual Memorial Wall is dedicated to honoring, remembering and sharing the legacies of all those who died in the Vietnam War. Here you can go beyond the names on The Wall to see the faces, share the stories and read the remembrances posted by friends, neighbors, classmates and family members.

All of these photos will be showcased in The Education Center at The Wall on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. To learn more about the effort to collect these photos and ensure their faces will never be forgotten, visit www.buildthecenter.org.