Sunday, September 18, 2011

Army Spc. Ryan J. Cook

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. Ryan J. Cook, 29, of Fort Walton Beach, Fla.

Spc Cook was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Wainwright, Alaska; died Sept. 18, 2011 in Takhar province, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.

SPC Cook was born in Danvers, MA. He moved to Fort Walton Beach when he was seven. He graduated from Choctawhatchee High School, where he played football.

Spc Cook joined the Army in March 2008. This was his second deployment, having previously been deployed to Iraq.

As a little boy, Ryan never passed up an opportunity to protect his younger siblings or save an injured animal. As a soldier, he showed the same compassion and loyalty to others.

Despite being injured and offered a chance to go home, SPC Cook stayed with his unit and embarked upon what would be his last mission.

“He was the last guy out, always,” said his mom, Kathleen Silva. “He was just always soft-hearted and sweet. He had the bluest eyes, the most disarming smile and the softest heart in the world,” she said.

Kathleen said she last spoke to her son about a month ago. She said she since learned that he chose not to call her before he left on what would be his last mission. He was afraid she would hear it in his voice.

“This was a really bad mission,” she said, “And he knew I would know.”

Kathleen, wears the dog tags of both her son and daughter (who's in the Air Force) around her neck.

“He loved his Army,” his mother said. “He said he was doing what he needed to do.”

Army Spc. Ryan J. Cook was killed in action on 9/18/11.

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