Col. Kelly Cook to be honored Thursday

Published 10:46 am Thursday, November 10, 2022

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Editor’s note: The print edition of this story in Thursday’s paper mistakenly listed the ceremony as taking place on Tuesday. That has been corrected for this article.

A Jessamine County native, Col. Kelly Cook, who has been missing since his plane was shot down during the Vietnam War, will be inducted into the county’s Hall of Veterans on Thursday.

Cook was stationed at Da Nang Air Base in Vietnam and was listed as Missing in Action after being shot down aboard an F-4C Phantom II jet on November 10, 1967.

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The festivities will take part across both Fayette and Jessamine counties. At 9:15 a.m. Cook will be honored at Bryan Station High School by the school’s JROTC united.

He will be further honored during a program at the Keene Community Center that beings at 1 p.m. The ceremony will include guest speakers, a flag-raising, and a plaque dedication.

The community center is located at 114 KeeneTroy Rd. After the ceremony, attendees may travel to the Jessamine County Courthouse for Cook’s induction into the Hall of Veterans.

He was born May 2, 1922, on a farm near Keene. His family later moved to a farm in Fayette County. Kelly grew up farming, raising award-winning tobacco, and participating in 4-H Club events while attending Briar Hill Elementary and Bryan Station High School in Lexington. Cook attended the University of Notre Dame before leaving in 1943 to enter the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II.

He flew a B-24 Liberator in the European theater. Following the war’s end, Kelly returned to college, completed his degree, and joined the prestigious school’s faculty as an instructor. He later authored a book, “The Other Capri.”

Cook later received a Master’s degree in English from the University of North Carolina. Cook continued to distinguish himself as a pilot and educator.

He served in the Iowa Air National Guard and flew during the Korean War. His teaching stops include the United States Air Force Academy, where he was an instructor and squadron leader, and Royal Air Force College in England as an English instructor.

During his military career, cook received the Distinguished Flying Cross, an Air Medal, an Army Commendation Medal, and two Presidential Unit Citations. Two of his six children will be in attendance at the events.

The events are organized by Charging Forward for America, a central Kentucky non-profit dedicated to honoring veterans and researching those that are still missing in action. For more information about them, visit their website at www.chargingforwardforamerica. com/home.