Memorial day is a day where we are supposed to remember our fallen soldiers. What I like to do is make a post about soldiers who impacted my life…whether they are alive or not. The first year I posted was about my Grandfather who was killed on the last day of world war 2 after being recalled from a bombing mission over Japan. My second post was about PFC Devin Grella, a young man in my company who was killed in Iraq in 2004. My third post was about another friend of mine from a different transportation company, SPC Mike Smith, who was also killed in Iraq shortly after PFC Grella. My fourth memorial day post was about my friend and partner SGT Rendo, who is still alive and kicking.
This year I would like to honor SSG Dale Cook. He was my section leader when I was stationed with 85th Division at Ft. Knox KY. SSG Cook was a mentor and guided me towards excellence in my career. Firm, yet gentle was his method of teaching. He could be silly and laugh with us, yet in an instant, turn around and be the leader that he was and needed to be. It was thru his guidance and patience that helped propel me into my own status as a Non Commissioned Officer and combat leader. I recognize that as an NCO, I stood on his shoulders from what he taught me, and that I stood on the shoulders of other NCO’s that I followed during my 10 years of service. I honor their service, dedication, and mentoring. While SSG Cook is still alive, I would like to honor him specifically this year because his guidance helped me in ways he may never know…and it helped bring me home from combat. SSG Cook….I salute you.