COOKE, CALVIN COOLIDGE, JR. Remains ID announced 05/01/2006
Name: Calvin Coolidge Cooke, Jr. Rank/Branch: E5/US Air Force Unit: CCK Air Force Base, Taiwan - TDY to 345th Tactical Airlift Squadron, Tan Son Nhut ABSV Date of Birth: 18 April 1946 Home City of Record: Washington DC Loss Date: 26 April 1972 Country of Loss: South Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 113803N 1063547E (XT745866) Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered Category: 2 Acft/Vehicle/Ground: C130E Refno: 1837
Other Personnel In Incident: Harry Amesbury; Richard E. Dunn; Donald R. Hoskins; Richard L. Russell (all missing); Kurt F. Weisman (remains returned)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 31 April 1990 from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK 2006.
REMARKS: CRASH - 1 REM RCV - N SIGN SUBJ - J
SYNOPSIS: From the CCK Air Force Base base in Taiwan, C-130 crews flew to different locations, including Korea, Borneo, Indonesia, Japan, Africa, etc. But most trips were to various bases in Vietnam for 3 week stays. Then the men would return to the base in Taiwan for 3 days. On one such Vietnam tour, one C130E had a crew consisting of Harry A. Amesbury, pilot; Richard L. Russell, navigator, Richard E. Dunn, loadmaster, Calvin C. Cooke, Donald R. Hoskins, and Kurt F. Weisman, crew members. This crew was TDY to 345th Tactical Airlift Squadron at Tan Son Nhut Airbase, South Vietnam.
On April 26, 1972, Amesbury's aircraft and crew were making a night drop of supplies to South Vietnamese forces trapped in An Loc, South Vietnam (about 65 miles from Saigon). The provincial capitol had been under seige by North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces off and on since early April. Supply drops and air support were critically needed and often hampered by hostile forces outside the city. Upon approach to the drop site at a very low level, the aircraft was hit by enemy fire and was reported to be down. The men onboard the aircraft were declared Missing in Action.
Supply drops were generally accomplished in one of two ways, both requiring that the plane be airborne, and flying at very low altitudes. Using one method, parachutes attached to the supply pallets were deployed. As the plane flew over, the parachutes pulled the cargo from the plane. Using another method, a hook attached to the cargo was dropped from the plane, affixed to some firm fixture on the ground. As the plane departed the area, the cargo was pulled out of the plane. Both required considerable skill under the best of circumstances.
According to the Department of the Air Force, it received unspecified information that contained evidence of death for the crew members on May 5, 1972. The status of the missing men was changed to Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered.
In February, 1975, non-American friendly forces recovered and returned the remains of Kurt Weisman. No information surfaced on the rest of the crew. All onboard had been assumed killed in the downing of the plane. If this is the case, why weren't the other remains recovered as well?
Of the nearly 2500 Americans still missing in Southeast Asia, most can be accounted for one way or another. The U.S. Government has received nearly 10,000 reports of Americans still held prisoner in Southeast Asia, yet has not been able to find a way to free them, or to obtain information on a significant number of other Americans who may have perished.
No. 380-06 IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 01, 2006 Media Contact: (703)697-5131 Public/Industry(703)428-0711
Air Force Sergeants MIA from Vietnam War Identified
The Department of Defense POW/ Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of two servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified.
They are Tech. Sgt. Donald R. Hoskins, Madison, Ind. and Staff Sgt. Calvin C. Cooke, Washington, D.C. A third person from the crew, Maj. Harry A. Amesbury, has been previously identified. The funeral for Cooke will be at Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington D.C. on June 20, with full military honors.
On April 26, 1972, Amesbury was piloting a C-130E Hercules to An Loc City, South Vietnam for an emergency resupply mission. Hoskins and Cooke were among those aboard the aircraft when it was hit by enemy fire and crashed. Enemy activity prevented any recovery attempts until three years later in 1975 when a Vietnamese search team recovered artifacts and remains that were later identified as belonging to another crewman.
In 1988, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) confiscated remains from a Vietnamese national in Ho Chi Minh City and returned them to the U.S. custody. The Vietnamese attributed the remains to Cooke.
In April 1989, a Vietnamese woman living in Thailand told U.S. interviewers that she witnessed the crash of a C-130 in 1972 near An Loc City. She was a schoolteacher at the time of the incident but moved due to hostilities in the area. She told interviewers that two of her former students found the complete remains of one of the crewmen, a uniform, identification tags and other items they were keeping at one of their homes. The students gave her a bone fragment and information from the identification tag of Amesbury, both of which she turned over to the interviewers.
The S.R.V. repatriated additional remains to the United States in June 1989, and January and November of 1991 that were attributed to Cooke and Amesbury.
In 1992, a joint U.S.-S.R.V. team, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), interviewed several Vietnamese nationals who claimed to have recovered remains from a C-130 crash site near An Loc. The villagers recalled finding a flight suit and almost the complete skeletal remains of one of the crewmen. One of them led the joint team to the crash site and another turned over several small fragments of bone and an identification tag rubbing for Amesbury.
Another joint team returned to the crash site for excavation in 1993 where they recovered additional remains, personal effects and crew related artifacts.
The National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia contacted JPAC officials in 1998 about a woman living in Georgia who had remains and personal artifacts attributed to Amesbury. Those were turned over to JPAC as part of the evidence associated with this case.
JPAC scientists and Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) specialists used mitochondrial DNA as one of the forensic tools to help identify the remains. Laboratory analysis of dental remains also confirmed their identifications.
Of those Americans unaccounted for from all conflicts, 1,805 are from the Vietnam War. Another 841 Americans have been accounted for in Southeast Asia since the end of the war, with 601 of those from Vietnam.