~Who is H. Weir Cook~
~June 30,1892 - March 24,1943~
About a man who I call friend, Col. H. Weir Cook.
Although I never met him, I did get to meet his son along with three of his best friends before their passing. I felt so honored to be called their friend, as they gave me knowledge and the insight of one of there own, Col. H. Weir Cook. These four men had first hand knowledge, all had been personal friends to Cook, and had been taught to fly by him.
~Facts about Col. Cook~
Harvey Weir Cook Sr. was born June 30, 1892 in Wilkinson, Indiana. Went to high school in Anderson, Indiana. He attended DePauw University and latter at Washington and Jefferson college when WWI broke out. Leaving college and enlisting as an ambulance driver in the French Army before the US entered the war.
In 1917, when America entered the war, he transferred to the US Army Air Service. He was assigned to the famous 94th Pursuit Squadron, also known as the "Hat-In-The-Ring", under Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker. There he would earn the title of Ace and would go on later to be awarded not once but twice the Distinguished Service Cross with Oak Leaf cluster. The Aero Club of America, among others, presented him medals.
Later would become a pioneer airmail pilot and was with the Army Corps. until 1928. Cook was also successful in having Indianapolis included as an airmail stop on the New York-St. Louis airmail route, putting Indianapolis on the aviation map.
Later in Indianapolis, he was involved in the development of the first dive bombing sight for the US Army.
In 1926 Cook was the first aviator in the United States to fly serum to hurricane victims in Florida.
Assigned as Army instructor attached to the 113 observation squadron of the Indiana National Guard, resigned in 1928.
Cook was vice president and general manager of the Curtis flying service of Indiana in 1928. He helped organize the service in Indianapolis for civilian pilot training and air taxi service.
In 1929 helped select the site of the Indianapolis Airport in Indiana. Along with helping to bring concrete runways and electrical lighting to the airport.
In the 1930s Cook had his own radio program on W.L.W. out of Cincinnati called "Col. Cook and his flying Corps", teaching young and old alike facts about aviation along with stories from his days of World War I. Along with with that he taught many young Indianapolis man to fly. They were called the flying cadets.
Cook was active in promotion of a model airplane program used by the Army Air Force in pilot training. He called the show "Conquest of the sky", a model airplane show that was viewed by thousands in various cities in the United States. Also showing a movie he produced, the models that Cook carried around numbering about 60 was from his own collection.
Cook became involved in recognizing the Wright Brothers' contributions to flying. The Smithsonian did not recognize the Wright Brothers flight at "Kitty Hawk" in 1903 as the first powered aircraft flight. Due to his persistence the flight was eventually recognition in 1940 as the first.
In 1941, he became Commander of the 38th Division of the National Guard.
July 1942 Weir Cook was promoted to the rank of full Col.
Weir Cook was nearly half a century old when World War II began. Even at his age, he still felt the need to serve his country. He wrote to a friend in Indianapolis and said, "To have stayed out of this conflict would have left me feeling that I should be hanged as a traitor to my country."
March 24, 1943 Col. Cook lost his life doing what he loved, flying a Bell P-39 Airacobra, while serving his Country in the South Pacific.
Above a Bell P-39 Airacobra- Status: Ret. -Lt. Col. Chickering
Above Picture: Col. Cooks headstone, Now buried at the "Punch Bowl" National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific-Hawaii
In 1944 a Liberty ship was Christened, SS H WEIR COOK (New- we now have photos).
Charles Lindbergh and Roscoe Turner agreed that Weir Cook was "The single most influential man in aviation before WWII."
Clubs and organizations Col Cook belonged to:
Murat Shrine Temple of Indianapolis
Mount Moriah Lodge #77, Anderson Indiana (Sublime Degree, 1920)
American Legion, National Aeronautics Commission
Indiana Aircraft Trades Association, Past President
Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce, member of the Aviation Committee
Indianapolis Exchange Club
Explorers Club of Chicago
Service Club of Indianapolis
Indiana air tour, annually visited cities that have built airports
American Legion-Aviation Post #171,Indianapolis In.
40 & 8
Former Pres. of the Indiana Aircraft Trade Assoc.
DePauw University-Delta Kappa Epsilon Fraternity
Washington and Jefferson College Alumni
Anderson Indiana-High school-Class of 1913
Aero Club of America