Monday, June 06, 2011

Army Spc. Michael B. Cook Jr.

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. Michael B. Cook Jr., 27, of Middletown, Ohio

Spc Cook was assigned to 1st Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.; died of wounds sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit with indirect fire June 6, 2011 in Baghdad. Also killed were Army Spc. Emilio J. Campo Jr., Army Spc. Christopher B. Fishbeck, Army Spc. Robert P. Hartwick and Army Pfc. Michael C. Olivieri.

The day of the attack was Spc Cook's birthday. He had turned 27.

Each of the five Soldiers had served less than two years in the Army. This was their first deployment. They had been deployed since November 2010.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of these young heroes and our thoughts and prayers go out to their families,” said Lt. Col. Andrew Gainey, the soldiers’ battalion commander.

“Indirect fire is the firing of munitions at an enemy that is not a direct line of sight,” writes Master Sgt. Matt Howard of the 1st Infantry Division Public Affairs. “For example, rifles, tanks and IEDs are direct fire weapons - you see the enemy and you shoot at them. Rockets and mortars are examples of indirect fire.”

Spc Cook graduated from Salem High School in 2003.

Spc Cook joined the Army in October 2009 and was a field artillery tactical data systems operator. (Safe, accurate, and lethal delivery of the field artillery's various fire support systems used to support infantry and tank units in combat. Skills training included methods of computing target locations using computers or manual calculations, ammunition handling techniques, and operating and performing maintenance on related equipment, vehicles, generators, and artillery tactical and data systems).

His parents said Michael loved serving in the Army, and not long after he signed up last year, he knew it was something he wanted to do for the rest of his life.
"He did what he wanted to do," said his father, Michael Cook Sr. "He wanted to be there."

His mother, Patti Cook, said it's still surreal to think that her son is gone. She said she spoke with him days before the attack that took his life and the lives of four other soldiers.

"He was very excited," she said. "He and three other gentlemen were planning a surprise for their wives, which I was arranging and taking care of. It was supposed to happen when they got home, so he was in high spirits."
His parents said they were planning to hear from him on his birthday. "Instead, we got a knock on the door," his mother said.

Spc. Cook was remembered by his friends and former teachers as a bright, charismatic, intelligent man who was always volunteered to help others, especially young students at school.

"He always had a smile and was always positive," said Cook's computer science teacher at Salem High School.

Spc Cook is survived by his parents, Patti and Mike; wife, Samantha, and two children, Hailee and Michael III; and a brother, sister.

Army Spc. Michael B. Cook Jr was killed in action on 6/6/11.

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