Calvin Coolidge Cooke, Jr

Staff Sergeant
United States Air Force
18 April 1946 - 26 April 1972
Washington, District of Columbia
Panel 01W Line 007

13TH AF C-130 345TH TAS
Silver Star

USAF Aircrew

DFC, Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign
Calvin C. Cooke

The database page for Calvin Coolidge Cooke, Jr

28 Dec 2001

Life goes on around us
Even though we await when all is settled.

While in our hearts and souls you are still with us
We accept what we are told.

Deep, in the farthest reaches of our minds,
We hope what we have accepted is false.

Our only wish is, if it is true, you are at peace
And knew, we all love you very much.

A memorial initiated by his brother.

E-Mail may be forwarded via the

13 Dec 2004

To a man never forgotten by his fellow Americans.
Honor and Respect he will always have.

From someone who wears his MIA Bracelet,
Petty Officer Cary Kraft U.S.C.G.

04 May 2005

I was in the 345th TAS and flew with Cookie.

We flew together for several months before his last flight. He was very professional and a great Load Master and friend.

He will never be forgotten and he will be missed.

From a crew member and pilot in 345 TAS, 374 TAW CCK,
James Corkern
E-Mail will be forwarded by the

I took this photo of "Cookie" in Feb 72 after a we completed a flight together. We were as guys do after a mission clowning around and came up on the PUFF gunship. Our plane was unarmed so we decided to take pictures. I hope it helps others to remember the work we did together in Vietnam so they will NEVER be forgotten.

26 May 2005

As I see my life now I wonder what it would of been if I would have of got the chance to meet you? Would my mom have been different if you hadn't left us to only find that we love you and need you so? Would I have shed tears to only find that you are the most perfect person, you gave your life to make a better one for somone else? I wish I would of got the chance to meet you, but all I can do is hope you are watching me from up above. I love you, grandpa, and I always will=)

From his grand-daughter,
Summer Lynn Cooke
37573 Old Highway 30, Box 70426, Astoria, Or, 97103

05 Sep 2005

I just wanted to thank everyone who has posted pictures of my father on this site - they are much appreciated. Unfortunately my collection of photos of my father is very limited. He continues to be in my thoughts every day.

Thank you all again.
Laurel Cooke

30 Mar 2006

Laurel and Summer,

It's good to see you on here. I know your father and grandfather is watching down on you both. We all wish he was here. I hope one day he will be laid to rest at Arlington with his mother, father, grandfather, and grandmother. I think of him often and all of you too.

Grady, we miss you.
Love, your sister,

Today is April 26, 2006.

Sixty years ago today, Mom and Dad brought their first child into this world. He was you. Little did they know back then that you would leave this world before they did. They loved you so much and they were so proud of you and everything you had accomplished in your short life.

Although you're not here to celebrate your birthday with us, at least this year we can finally take solace in the fact that we know you are now in heaven with Mom and Dad, looking down on us and knowing that we will all be together soon at Arlington, honoring you for the great sacrifices you made for us and for your country.

When we all meet at Arlington to complete the journey that has taken us many, many years to conclude, we hope you know how special you are to us and that we are all there to honor you. We love you for your courage and valor but more than that, we love you as our brother, our cousin, Angela's, Melissa's, and Laurel's father and to their children a very special grandfather.


Your sister,

18 Apr 2007

Happy Birthday Grady.....

We all miss you still.

You're in our thoughts,
and in our prayers.

God Bless You,
Your sister Darlene

Darlene Cooke Wooldridge
03 Apr 2006

I was in the same squadron as SSgt Cooke, 345th TAS based at CCK AFB in Taiwan. The morning of the 1st of April I was in the waiting room of the barracks, waiting for the bus. I was heading home after my 15 month tour in CCK.

SSgt Cooke was in the same waitng room, before his ride to Ops for his in-country tour. We talked just for a bit as I told him I was heading home and we told me he had this tour to do and was hoping to get home to his family in DC. He wished me well as I did him. It was a brief encounter that morning. But he and I had talked before as he came through our Life Support shop for his survival equipment.

I always remember that morning. I was glad to go home and I sensed the same feeling in his eyes as well. We all wanted to go home to our loved ones, back in the states. We shook hands and said goodbye and turned to face our separate directions in life.

34 years later I still remember that morning, not only in my mind but on my wrist. I wear his MIA bracelet. Not only for SSgt Cooke but for all the brave warriors who fought for our country.

From a 345TAS CCK, AFB Squadron member,
Sgt Joseph Avanzato

13 Apr 2006

Silver Bird

I've been standing in the shadows
Listening for the sound
Of a mighty roaring engine,
That I know is heaven bound,
I'm looking for the starlight
That will gently light the Way
To a glorious tomorrow
Born of emtiness today.
I'm waiting for that silver bird
To streak across the sky
How I pray I haven't missed it,
I must say one last goodbye,
I'll watch the sky forever,
For hours, days or years
Praying for just one more glance
Of yesterday, so dear.
God please tell him where to find me,
I'm standing, so alone.
Standing in the shadows
Of happiness I've known.
I'll watch the sky forever,
For hours, days or years.
Praying for just one more glance,
Of yesterdays so dear.

Goodbye, sweet cousin. The next silver bird will be for me. Until then, I'll miss you.


Joyce Mayes-Harris

13 Apr 2006

I wish he were still here. They identified his remains and there will be a funeral in a few months. Hope to see everyone there.

From his granddaughter,
Bethany Cooke

15 Apr 2006

To some you were Husband, Son, Brother, Uncle, Cousin or Friend.
Some called you "Grady" or "Cookie".
I called you the most important name of all, Daddy.

I know I loved you very much because my first word was "Dada".

I wish I had more memories of you, and I wish I could remember your face. I wish we had more time together before you were gone. I hope you know that no matter how short the time we had, I love you as deeply as if you were here my entire life. I'll never forget you and what you mean to me.

For now, I hold tight to the memories I have clung to since I was so very young:

I remember your feet and legs because that is how tall I was.

I remember your coveralls that smelled of grease.

I remember playing with your ring and being fascinated by it.

I remember living in Georgia: our house, some vague memories of Christmas, the rain so thick you couldn't see any other houses, getting my vaccinations, the cold floor when I got out of bed, and our neighbors' house burning down (you told us we were giving them our house so we had to move. I thought that was so nice at the time but did not want to move!) I know now that you probably got your orders and we had to move on.

I remember driving to Grandma and Grandpa's house in Maryland. We stopped along the way and stayed at someone's house. Angie and I slept on the couch, one on each end. I think that is where we got our pillowcases with our names on them. I kept mine until it fell apart after I had my own daughter.

I remember sleeping on a cot at Grandma and Grandpa's.

I remember Halloween and putting my hands in a bowl of cold spaghetti and being told it was "worms".

I remember Easter and finding Netta's Easter basket, thinking it was mine...

I remember a tantrum I threw when Jeannie "borrowed" my red socks.

I remember Pepper and rolling around on the floor with you and him.

I remember getting in big trouble for "disappearing" with one of my young Aunts following some girls home who were carrying a flag down the street, and thinking it was Betsy Ross. We went to their house and played and lost track of time.

I remember the move to Washington and how surreal it was to me at the time. It was like one minute we were leaving Maryland, and the next we were all the way across the country in Washington State. I must have slept the entire trip.

I remember being swept up in your arms and feeling your heart beating against my ear and your body shaking with laughter. I remember feeling safe with you, safe and loved.

I remember you leaving and not wanting you to go.

I remember the day they came to tell us about your crash. I was a late sleeper and a man in uniform came upstairs and carried me downstairs where the family was already all gathered crying. I knew something was wrong and I did not want it to be you.

Those are part of what I remember and I treasure those memories and will for the rest of my life.

I have to admit, I waited for you over the years to come back. I always thought that one day you would just appear. I know now that will never happen, because they have finally identified you - 34 years later, almost to the date.

I got the call last Tuesday.
I know you are gone.
My heart is broken.
Yet my heart is full.

Full because you gave your life for a country that you loved, and I am proud of you for that.

Full because you will finally be honored for being a Hero.

Full because you loved me and I am proud to be your daughter.

And even though I lost my "Daddy", I am happy to have had you at all.

From his daughter,
Melissa McCoy

26 Apr 2006

With Love, From Rea

As we come together to welcome you home
      after so many years apart,
And lay you to rest in that Garden of Stone,
      thereís a bittersweet ache in my heart.
For I canít hold you close, or look in your eyes,
      or tell you I love you so,
Yet I canít help but think youíll be with us, unseen,
      and somehow you will know.

You were always a special part of my life,
      and I miss that still today,
I remember your smile, and the games of our youth,
      which so quickly passed away.
But, most of all, I remember that
      we were a part of one another,
For you were my buddy, my hero, my friend...
      you were my big brother.

From his sister,
Marie O'Donnell

26 Mar 2007

It was about this time last year that I learned we were going to be able to bring you home and lay you to rest where you belong.

All during the time at the chapel in Arlington, I felt you with us. I could feel your joy at being among family again. I could feel your love as your daughters and grandchildren gathered with your brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, cousins, friends, and the many other brave soldiers who traveled miles to be with us to welcome you back. You were with us there just as much as if you had been standing right beside us ... in fact you were standing beside us.

It is a relief to have you back here, at home with those who care. We love you and will always miss you. Sleep in peace, dear brother, sleep in peace.

Love, Rea

From his sister,
Marie O'Donnell
05 May 2006

Although I never got to meet you, I still love you as if I had. During the past couple of months I have gotten to learn so very much about you that I never knew before, and although I am unable to fly out and attend your funeral I still will honor and remember you as if I had forevermore, and never will I forget you.

From his grand-daughter,
Jessica Jae Lindsey

21 Jun 2006

Hey Cookie: I will always remember you and the days working in the garage and on your "Sugarshack" and the days cruising. May you finally rest in peace.

From your best friend of the middle 60's,
Donnie Busl

20 Jun 2006

I was one of the USAF Pallbearers who had the honor of carrying SSgt Cooke to his final resting place today. His sacrifice, much like the sacrifice of so many of our brothers and sisters, makes the freedoms we enjoy today that much more sweeter. Never has so much been owed by so many, to so few. To his family, I pray that peace and love be with you and your family for the rest of your days and that God should bless you in all your future endeavors. To me, heroes come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes it's not just the people who wear the uniform ... it's the people who stand behind them and offer love and support, that make all the difference.

A1C Michael Lee Rowe, USAF HQ

28 Jun 2006

Do you not hear the pounding of my heart,
Though we are far apart.
Do you not want for love's hot breath,
To pacify every desire to rest.

Do you not sense love's everglow,
The forgiveness and passion that grow.
Do you not hear a broken heart's cry,
That in the end there will be only you and I.

From his wife.
E-Mail will be forwarded by the

A Note from The Virtual Wall

On 31 May 1971 the 374th Tactical Airlift Wing replaced the 314th TAW at Ching Chuang Kang Airbase, Taiwan, inheriting a heavy commitment in support of operations in Southeast Asia. The 374th provided temporary duty augmentation to the in-country C-130 forces, with crews and aircraft alternating between three-week deployments in-country and brief returns to Taiwan for major maintenance.

On 26 April 1972, a 345th Tac Alft Sqdn aircrew on temporary duty with Det 1, 345th Tactical Airlift Squadron, at Tan Son Nhut Airbase outside Saigon was tasked with a night resupply drop to ARVN troops trapped in the besieged city of Anh Loc, Binh Long Province, a provincial capitol about 65 miles northwest of Saigon. Anh Loc had been under siege by North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces off and on since early April. At 0412 hours, Major Amesbury was given clearance by the on-site Forward Air Controller (FAC) to initiate their supply drop. As the C-130E (serial 64-0508) made its pass over Anh Loc at a very low altitude, the aircraft was struck by enemy fire and crashed into the countryside approximately 1 mile southwest of the city. An aerial and electronic search of the area commenced immediately, but a ground search of the crash site was impractical due to the intense enemy presence in the area. No emergency beepers were heard and no parachutes seen. When the search efforts were terminated, the six men were listed as Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered:

  • Major Harry A. Amesbury, pilot, Morrison, IL
  • Capt Kurt F. Weisman, copilot, Jasper, IN
  • 1stLt Richard L. Russell, navigator, Snyder, TX
  • TSgt Richard E. Dunn, loadmaster, Terryville, CT
  • TSgt Donald R. Hoskins, flight engineer, Madison, IN
  • SSgt Calvin C. Cooke, loadmaster, Washington, DC
Remains of four crewmen have been recovered:
  • In early February 1975 an ARVN ground team examined the C-130 crash site to search for its missing crew. Partial remains of one man were recovered and identified on 27 February 1975 as Kurt Weisman.
  • Remains repatriated 14 Nov 1991 were identified on 20 May 2001 as those of Major Amesbury.
  • Remains repatriated 03 Mar 1988 were identified on 27 Mar 2006 as those of SSgt Cooke.
  • Remains repatriated 14 Apr 1992 were identified on 27 Mar 2006 as those of TSgt Hoskins.
1stLt Russell and TSgt Dunn have not been repatriated.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
his brother.
E-Mail may be forwarded via the

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 28 Dec 2001
Last updated 09/19/2007