San Bruno, California. Died May 31, 2003 at age 82. John was
featured in five documentaries* for his experiences as a POW in
the Philippines during WWII. He would readily lecture about his
many graphic memories to organizations and youth wanting to learn
a piece of this history. Leaving the town of New Braunsfel, TX, he
joined the Army and was trained in the Medical Corp. He was soon
sent to the Philippines only to be interned in a prison camp for
34 months, captured by the Japanese, who showed no mercy. The US
Army Alamo Scouts, Rangers, and Filipino Guerrillas liberated
513 prisoners from Cabanatuan, Philippines, on January 31, 1945.
devotion and honor to his liberators was repaid with a plaque he
presented to his heroes at Fort Benning, GA, on August 11, 2000,
at the Ranger Hall of Fame. Hampton Sides, author of the book
"Ghost Soldiers", gathered much of his research
information from John's iron-clad memories and treasured documents
of the rescue of the POW's. A memorable man with a heart as big as
his stature, he will be missed by his loving wife of 30 years,
Theresa Alchera Cook, who said,
"Love like this comes once in a lifetime."
Cook was so grateful for his Ranger rescue, he was solely
responsible for the 6th Bn monument outside RTB and the RHOF at
Fort Benning, GA. When he first approached the Post, he was told
"it couldn't be done." Later, after he contacted higher
authority figures, the Post called him and discussed the details
of the monument, the timing for the dedication, and the planning
of an appropriate program. Like a Ranger, he wouldn't accept
"It can't be done!" John paid for the monument in its
entirety, with his own money. A
true, proud, hero, gone but never forgotten.
"History Undercover - Rescue of Bataan Ghost Soldiers,"
History Channel; "Ghost Soldiers," Evening Magazine;
"Alamo Scouts WWII," History's Mysteries,"
"War Stories with Oliver North", Fox News; "Jessica
Lynch Rescue Story," ABC for Biography Channel;
"American Experience Bataan Rescue" featured July 7,
2003 on PBS.
to being captured