Class of 1906 Inf KIA Oct 7, 1918 Etienne-a-Arnes, France. As Battalion Commander 7th Infantry, 2d Division, he was said to be an inspiration to his men and they followed him in the face of the murderous fire. He fell with his face to the foe. (Note – Register lists the 7th as the day he was killed) Awarded DSC
Major Fred A. Cook, United States Army, graduated from the Military Academy in the Class of 1906. He served in the Philippines, at Fort Thomas, Ky., at Fort Shafter, H. T., and on the Texas border, up to the time of the outbreak of the war in Europe. He went to France in 1917, attended the staff schools required of battalion commanders and was later assigned to the 23rd Infantry.
He became commander of the 1st Battalion of that regiment some time in September, 1918, when the American troops were advancing to the fight in the Argonne Forest. In command of his battalion he was said to be an inspiration to his men and was able to make them follow him in the face of the murderous fire of machine guns and rifles to a point toward the objective which required more than two days of later constant fighting to reach. He fell on October 8th, 1918, with his face to the foe and a machine gun bullet through his heart. He died the way every true soldier hopes to die – in the full flush of battle and going forward. He was buried by his officers near the field of battle and his grave is suitably marked.
Fred Cook became a Second Lieutenant of the 2nd Infantry on June 12, 1906, became a First Lieutenant of that regiment on April 19, 1911, and was promoted to Captain in the 31st Infantry on July 1, 1916. During the next year he became a Major of a battalion of the
23rd Infantry. He was married in 1910 to Miss Eva Morton of Croton-on-Hudson, N. Y., who survives him and is now living at that place. His two boys, Fred A. Cook, Jr., and Morton Aldrich Cook, are respectively eight years and three years old on December 31, 1918.
Cook was a member of A Company of the Cadet Corps throughout nearly all of the five years of his cadetship at the Academy. He was one of the landmarks of the company and his advice was sought by all the junior cadets who required the advice and council of an old-timer. He was well known at the cadet hops and entered into the social life of the Military Academy which he thoroughly enjoyed. His first service was in Jolo in the Philippine Islands where he conducted his company through all the trails of the Islands and assisted the others in impressing the Moros with the prowess of the American arms. His classmates will recall his jovial disposition and the profuse perspiration which his countenance carried in those hot days. He grew fatter and perspired more the longer he remained under the tropical sun. The afternoon swim and the Scotch and Tansen at the Jolo Club which always followed the swim, were the redeeming features of life in that almost too tropical country. He apparently was fond of the tropical life, for after one has been a few years in the tropics, the call to return is always insistent.
After three years in the States he went to Honolulu with his regiment and his years of service there in building up the posts of Hawaii, living in tents, cantonments, and all sorts of houses and shifting here and there to find a place to sleep, made up, he always said, the most interesting years of his life. He used to frequently say that Hawaii was one of the garden spots of the world, because he had only the Texas Terrain around Harlingen to compare with it; that if he ever got back to Vermont he would probably change his ideas about the rest of the world. His class book, printed in 1916, at the time of the decennial reunion, stated that “he would be the proudest fellow in the world to lead a war strength company of ‘doughboys’ into battle, and we bet he would make them count as long as they lasted.”
In 1918 he led a war strength battalion of “doughboys” into battle, and his regiment com- mander and his brigade commander have said the same words: “That he made them count to the maximum as long as they lasted and as long as he lasted.”
Fred Cook was a fine man and a good officer. We will all miss him throughout the service when the graduates gather together.
C. G. METTLER.
Mary ALDEN Aldrich, who married George William Cook of Post Mills, VT ca 1860s. Mary had two sons, George Martin Cook and Fred Alden Cook – both killed in WWI.