DVIDS – News – WWII, Korean & Vietnam War Veterinarian Kelly Cook Remembered

Shortly after World War II, the 1st LT. Kelly Cook joined the Iowa National Guard as a charter member of the 174th Fighter Squadron where he began flying the F-84 Thunderjet.

When Cook came to Iowa as a traditional security guard, he worked full-time and taught English at the University of Notre Dame, which was also his alma mater.

A B-24 crewman during World War II, Cook likely trained at the former Sioux City Army air base before being sent to Italy during the war.

Cook’s return to Sioux City after World War II and his affinity for the region were evident in the Kentucky native’s writings of his experiences in western Iowa.

As a poet and author, Cook has often shared his experiences, whether writing for his campus newspaper or writing articles for other publications such as Iowa Guardsman Magazine. Cook’s literary prowess also led him to produce a book uniquely titled about his experiences in Italy, The Other Capri; and all my sad captains.”

Just a few years after returning to Sioux City, Cook and the rest of the 174th Pilots were again deployed to the Korean War in 1951. The unit’s F-84 fighter jets and pilots were needed in another global conflict that saw nearly 80% of the Air National Guard deployed as part of the massive call-up.

Some of the 174th Regiment’s pilots and aircraft were sent back to Europe to fight the Soviet threat, while others, like Cook, found themselves once again engaged in a hot war on the Korean peninsula. After serving as the Air Force’s 5th Staff Officer at Osan Air Force Base in Korea, Cook remained on active duty after returning to the United States

By the mid-1960s, Cook had combined his military and civilian interests and was serving as an instructor at the United States Air Force Academy when America became embroiled in the Vietnam War.

At the age of 47, Lt. Col. Cook again volunteered for service in Vietnam. Cook’s last active duty assignment was as an F-4 Phantom pilot, where he served as deputy operations manager for the 366th Tactical Fighter Squadron in Vietnam.

Cook’s F-4 was shot down in November 1967 but reportedly managed to eject. When he went missing, Cook still gave Sioux City, Iowa as his place of residence. Although his remains were never returned, he was pronounced dead in 1976.

Following her posthumous promotion to colonel, Kelly Cook’s name is engraved on a memorial stone on the grounds of the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Date Taken: 5/26/2023 Posted on: 5/26/2023 4:46 PM Story ID: 445690 Location: SIOUX CITY, IA, USA Hometown: SIOUX CITY, IA, USA Web Views: 9 Downloads: 0 PUBLIC DOMAIN


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