In honor of the 1940s census being released, here is a 48 Hour Ephemera Challenge that dates to 1946. A letter was sent from the Navy Department to a Mr. George Edwin Cook, Jr in Dallas, Texas indicating that he had earned a Presidential Unit Citation. When I saw this in the antique store this past week, I HAD to have it. This is such an awesome piece of ephemera [and artifact because it had the ribbon bar in the envelope].
This piece by itself tells a story of courage and bravery ~ just one WW2 story of George Edwin Cook, Jr.'s, but who was George Edwin Cook, Jr., the man? Who were his parents? Was he married at the time? If not, did he marry later? Kids? Did his father ever serve in the military? Did he come from a long line of military men? What did he do for a living once he left the military? Just who was George Edwin Cook, Jr.?
Can we put George back into history where he belongs?
...in 48 hours?
There's only one way to find out.
And? You've just been challenged!
- Transcribe the handwritten message.
- List all identifying information that can be gleaned from the handwritten message.
- List any information that can be gleaned from the photo.
Then, we can start looking up information on the internet. When you do find something on the internet include the following in your post to the forum:
- A link to where you found the information.
- Name of website or database.
- A transcription of all or part of the information from document or site that is pertinent.
- If possible, how you think the information fits into the puzzle. [This is optional. You may not know, and that's okay. Other members may be lurking, and they may see where the piece fits into the puzzle.]
- If possible, what you think is the next logical step. Another online site? Or is offline research the next step? And where would that be?
- Attach of copy of document, if applicable.
Note: We aren't going to research offline, but I want us to get to that point and figure out where we might look if we were to go offline. Archives, library, courthouse, etc.
I have been doing alot of WWII US Navy work latley on my grandfather, so I immediately went to www.ancestry.com to look for George E. Cook Jr. in the U.S. Navy Muster Rolls 1938-49. I spelled out junior after the surname & used Hadley in the keyword search. From the results I quickly learned the George Cook enlisted in the Navy 31 Aug. 1942 service # 617 54 84 (this # can be used later to separate him from other George Cook's). He joined the crew of the Hadley when she was commissioned 25 Nov. 1944 at Terminal Island, San Pedro, CA. Subsequent muster rolls show him being promoted from S2c to S1c 1 Mar 1945, & advanced to RdM3c(T) on 1 Jun 1945. (S2c would be seaman 2nd class, 1c first class, these were men that performed general duties & light maintenence, upon their next promotion they were rated in their field of training, George was a radarman ). On 15 Oct 1945 George was transferred to Treasure Island, CA for discharge frome active service.
I was interested by this man so I naturally dug deeper, I not only wanted the man, but also the ship. By doing a quick search on the Google machine I was blessed w/ a http://www.usshadley.com/indexh.htm memorial page, from this I learnded that USS HADLEY has more kamakazie kills than any ship in history, and was scrapped after being in service just over a year, I encourage you to read the action reports they are amazing.
From this site http://www.usshadley.com/indexh.htm I went to the bio tab & there was our man, George Edwin Cook Jr. w/ a pic! a handsome fellow I must say. Notable information from his bio.
Born 6 Dec 1920 Dallas, TX. Graduated Irving H.S. 1938 & attended North Texas State University on a track scholarship from 1939-41. Married Eunice Mae Dean 9 May 1942, enlisted US Navy 3 months later on 25 Aug 1942. Son Dean b: 8 Sep 1949, daug. Nancy b: 23 Jun 1952, daug. Sharon b: 29 Sept 1953. Wife Eunice died 6 Oct 1977 during surgery, married later to Oma Lee. His bio says one younger son Roy & 2 sisters, are these his children from Oma or are these step-children not sure the bio is written by George, but the last couple lines are a bit confusing in wording.
George Edwin Cook Jr. died 17 Sept 2001
From a former U.S. Marine to an old Tin Can sailor thank you for your service & thank you for your story
Jim Wathan ( GenealogyJim )
WOW! What a story! And his bio is written in first person. And there's a picture of him. And, and, and...
What an incredible job you did in unearthing his story, Jim. Thank you!
A story that was definitely worth WAY more than $8.
Many thanks to George Edwin Cook, Jr. for his service AND many thanks to you, Jim, for your service.
Wow i just found this story.George was a friend of mine and we worked together.He told me about his story and i often asked him questions about his time in the Navy.He was a great man and i often think about him.What happened to his award? his family lives here in Sugar Land Tx where i live.I'm sure they would love to have this.
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