WEIR COOK MEMORIAL PROJECT, INC.

Our Mission:

To educate the public, especially our youth, of the roles of aviation pioneers and military heroes, through public
service, exhibits and events.
Meet the Squadron
Col. H. Weir Cook

June 30,1892 - March 24,1943

H. Weir Cook distinguished himself both on active duty with the U.S. Army Air Corps and, upon retirement, in his civilian life. He was born in Wilkinson, Indiana, on June 30, 1892. In 1916 he joined the French Ambulance Corps and a year later returned to the United States to become a fighter pilot in the Army Air Corps as the U.S. entered WWI.

Flying under the command of then Captain Eddie Rickenbacker, Colonel Cook honed his skills as a fighter pilot even at one point maneuvering in a “dog fight” with Herman Goering until they both gave up and Goering waved and retreated. Throughout the course of WWI, Colonel Cook distinguished himself by his bravery and extraordinary heroism. Twice he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross – our nation’s second highest award for valor. Excerpts from one of the two citations reads: “for acts of extraordinary heroism, near Crepon, France, 30 October 1918, Lieutenant Cook is awarded the Distinguished Service Cross”. Lieutenant Cook attacked three enemy planes; after a few minutes of serious fighting, his guns jammed, but after clearing the jam, he returned to the attack, shot down one of the adversaries in flames and forced the others to retire to their own lines.” He was also the recipient of the Silver Star.

After the war Colonel Cook continued to influence the development of the use of the airplane. He was instrumental in many things related to the use of airplanes; everything from the development of the parachute to the use of concrete for runways. He assisted in picking the site for the Indianapolis Airport, which was later named in his honor. Weir Cook’s contributions to the community, state and nation are extraordinary and numerous. In recognition of his contributions, the main terminal of the Indianapolis International Airport is named in his honor and a bronze statue of Colonel Cook is there, along with some of Colonel Cook’s personal items.
The Honolulu memorial was erected in 1964 by the "American Battle Monuments Commission" at the National Memorial Cemetery in honor of the sacrifices and accomplishments of American Armed Forces in the Pacific during both World Wars and the Korean War.

The National Memorial Cemetery, informally known as Punchbowl, is located at the middle of the "Puowaina crater" which is an extinct volcano that had been active some 75,000 to 100,000 years ago.

National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific
Punchbowl National Cemetery

A 1944 Tribute

In a grave on a distant isle on the opposite side of this troubled world lies the mortal remains of Harvey Weir Cook, a distinguished Hoosier whose valor we assemble to honor. We who knew him so well feel certain that if he were here this evening his first act would be to renounce all claim to such recognititon.

His spirtual self is here this evening, in our midst, to tell us that much remains to be fulfilled; to affirm that those who inherit the responsibitites of this world, as the generations arrive and depart, of necessity must fall heir to a continuing challenge.

As a youth Weir Cook learned that the full pleasure of living belongs to free men whose ideals, above all, the urge for material gain.  As we review his life we observe a consummate devotion to that principle of behavior, a faith that abided with him throughout his days on this earth.  In the business of living he ardently disapproved the theory of returning to society anything less than what he had received.  This heritage we will convet.


In our sphere of local acquaintance we shall remember him as friendly to an extent that endeared him to all.  Those who ventured to conflict a foreign system on the free country he worshiped found him otherwise.  Yet he never reveled in any discussion of his deeds, nor did he seek to exploit himself on that basis.  He preferred to reguard aviation as the agency of peace, rather than the instrument of war.  But when the instigators of conflict challenged the right of free Americans to guide their own destiny we found him back at the controls, fiercely defending what he conceived to be right- defending it to the death.

Our Sorrow with the personal loss is mitigated by the knowledge that Weir Cook repaid civilized society with generous dividends. His memory will illumine the skies like a beacon as pilgrims of the airways, lost in the shadows of night, find safety and refuge on the smooth runways of the airport which fittingly bears his name.


By:
The Weir Cook Memorial Committee
At Col. Cooks Memorial dinner
March 28, 1944-Scottish Rite Cathedral, Indianapolis
General H. H. Arnold arranged for the guest speaker.

A list of invited guests included Orville Wright, Eddie Rickenbacker, Charles A. Lindbergh, and officials of General Motors, Curtiss-Wright, RCA, Lucas-Harold, Ford Motor Company, Bendix, Studebaker, Republic Aviation, Bell Aircraft etc.