Gilbert R. Cook

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Gilbert R. Cook
Born December 30, 1889 (1889-12-30)
Texarkana, Arkansas
Died September 19, 1963 (1963-09-20) (aged 73)
La Jolla, California
Place of burial Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch  United States Army
Years of service 1908–1959
Rank two silver stars Major General
Commands held 21st Infantry Regiment
104th Infantry Division
XII Corps
Wars World War I
World War II
Awards Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Honor
Croix de Guerre

Gilbert R. Cook (December 30, 1889 – September 19, 1963) was a United States Army general. He had a thirty-six-year military career in the United States Army. He served in World War I in France and Germany, commanded the 21st Infantry during the Pearl Harbor attack, and commanded infantry troops in France during World War II.

Early career[edit]

Cook was born in Texarkana, Arkansas. He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1912[1] and was commissioned a second lieutenant of Infantry.

He served on the Mexican Border in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas from 1912 to 1915. He married Doris Frederick on September 2, 1914 at Ft. Sam Houston, Texas. In 1914, he served in the Panama Canal Zone and the Philippine Islands, then returned to the W.R. General Hospital in October 1915 from Panama. In June 1916 he reported to Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana for duty in mustering the National Guard for border patrol duty, and in July 1917, went to Jefferson barracks, Missouri for duty in recruiting.

World War I[edit]

In April, 1918, he joined the 58th Infantry and went to France with that regiment in May 1918. He served at St. Mihiel, Meuse-Argonne, Aisne-Marne, Vesle River and Marne-Ourcq engagements. He received the Silver Star with Oak Leaf Cluster and the Croix de Guerre for bravery. He returned to the States in August 1919, after serving with the 58th Infantry in the American Forces in Germany.

Between the Wars[edit]

He taught at the United States Army Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia from October 1919 to July 1921, when he returned to Germany for duty with the 8th Infantry at Coblenz until March 1923. Upon his return, he served at Fort Screven, Georgia and Fort McPherson, Georgia until August 1924. He entered the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and finished in June, 1925 as a “distinguished graduate”. He then went to Georgia School of Technology as Professor of Military Science and Tactics, and served there until July 1926. He then returned to Fort Benning, Georgia as an instructor in the Infantry School through 1930. In September of that year, he entered the Tank School at Fort George G. Meade, Maryland, and was graduated in June, 1931. He then entered the Army War College in Washington, D.C. and was graduated in June 1932. He next was assigned to the 12th Infantry at Fort Washington, Maryland, until September 1932, when he joined the War Department General Staff in Washington D.C. for duty in the Operations and Training Division, G-3. He became Commanding Officer of Fort Washington, Maryland, in September 1936. In September, 1938 he was appointed Chief of Attack Section and later Chief of Command Section at the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and served there until 1941.

World War II[edit]

In April 1941 Cook went to Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, as Commanding Officer of the 21st Infantry. He commanded the 21st Infantry Regiment in the Pearl Harbor attack, for which he was awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge. In April 1942, he was assigned to the 25th Infantry Division as Assistant Division Commander.

In June 1942 he was designated as Commanding General of the 104th Infantry Division and returned to the mainland. Cook was promoted to Major General and reported with the divisional cadre to Camp Adair, Oregon, in August 1942. The division was activated in December 1942. He conducted the training of this division through its Army maneuver series.[2]

In October 1943, he was appointed Commanding General, XII Corps at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and conducted its training in the Tennessee maneuver area and Camp Forrest, Tennessee. He accompanied the Corps Headquarters in its move to England, where the corps was assigned to the Third Army, with Cook serving as Deputy Commander of 3rd Army (1943–44). He was in the Normandy and Northern France campaigns, and received the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Honor and Croix de Guerre for his services. He was cited for the Distinguished Service Medal due to the capture of Châteaudun and Orléans.

His role as a field commander was cut short in August 1944, shortly after the Third Army's breakout in France, when he was hospitalized for illness due to circulation problems in his legs.[3] As one of General Patton's biographers later wrote, "to have to deprive (Cook) of his command at the very climax of his career shook Patton to the core, realising as he did the mortal blow he was delivering to his old friend."[4] It prompted Patton to request General Dwight D. Eisenhower to award Cook the Distinguished Service Medal. Cook returned to the states for recuperation and less strenuous duty.

Between 1944 and 1949 he was involved in a number of boards, groups, and studies. He was a member of the Army’s Equipment Review Board in 1945. He was a member of the Chief of Staff’s Advisory Group (1946–1948), the Army Ground Force Postwar Planning Group, and the Haislip Review Board which studied such subjects as military organization, mobilization, universal military training, and training. Cook was called out of retirement to critique major war games in 1948 and 1955.

Cook died in La Jolla, California, in 1963, and is buried alongside his wife, Doris, in Arlington National Cemetery.

References[edit]

  1. ^ United States Military Academy. The Register of Graduates and Former Cadets of the United States Military Academy at West Point: 2004. Connecticut. Elm Press. 2004. pg. 2:27
  2. ^ "Arkansan Leads the 104th; Saw Pearl Harbor Attack". Camp Adair Edition, The Oregon Statesman: 15. November 8, 1942. 
  3. ^ Tim Ripley, "Patton Unleashed," pp. 52-3 (Zenith Imprint 2003) ISBN 0-7603-1447-0.
  4. ^ Herbert Essame, "Patton," p. 178 (Da Capo Press 1998) ISBN 0-938289-99-3.

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