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
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.
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
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.
May 01, 2006 Media Contact: (703)697-5131
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
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.