Vietnam veteran honored in D.C.

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Joshua R. M. Dewberry
  • 11th Wing Public Affairs
The U.S. Air Force Honor Guard hosted a  flag folding ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., May 19.

The ceremony, for Air Force Capt. Glenn Cook, a Vietnam War veteran, preceded a memorial service in his hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. 

Cook, born on Sept. 10, 1945, was a Forward Air Controller stationed in Cam Ranh Bay for the 21st Tactical Air Support Squadron, 504th Tactical Air Support Group, 7th Air Force. 

On Oct. 21, 1969, Cook piloted a Cessna Skymaster Observation Aircraft, also known as O-2A on a mission over the juncture of Tuyen Duc, Ninh Thuan and Khanh Provinces in South Vietnam, when his aircraft was shot down by hostile fire about 25 miles west of Nha Trang.

"Around Memorial Day, it's important to remember that we'll never forget or stop looking for our fellow brothers and sisters in arms and the least we can do is honor them," said Maj. Ryan Vanveelen, U.S. Air Force Honor Guard director of operations. "It's an incredibly humbling thing to be asked to do; we help bring closure to the family. Even though it's been years, the grief never truly goes away."

It was reported by military sources that Cook passed away when his plane crashed. However, his remains were never recovered and he was officially pronounced dead July 17, 1977.

Despite the report, Cook's family never lost hope for his safe return back home. His father made two trips to Vietnam at his own expense trying to locate his son while he was listed as missing in action, but was unsuccessful.

"Veterans and family never forget those fallen in battle," said Larry Walker, Cook family friend. "We miss Glenn terribly and wish he was still with us here today. Celebrating Memorial Day is not just a holiday for a longer weekend; it's a time to remember those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom and sovereignty as a nation."

The family asked for a flag flown over the Capitol by North Carolina Republican Senator Richard Burr's office and folded by the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard.

The flag folding ceremony took place in front of the Memorial Wall panel Cook's name is inscribed on. Cook's name is inscribed on panel 17W, line 100.

Army Maj. Steven Curtis, Defense Congressional fellow, represented the Cook family at the Vietnam Memorial.

"This is the first time I've had this kind of request to go to the Wall in D.C.," Curtis said. "Capt. Cook was just one of many good people we lost in Vietnam and although he couldn't be properly laid to rest near his family, we are doing the next best thing by remembering his loss and sacrifice with a ceremony in the nation's capital."

Unable to attend the flag folding themselves, the flag was delivered to the Cook family in North Carolina.