James Nelson CookSergeant 20151137172nd Infantry Regiment, 43rd Division, US ArmyPurple Heart, Silver StarFebruary 1921Truro, Colchester Co., NSFeb 24, 1941Bennington, VermontJohn St, Bennington, Vermont19 or 20Single (at enlistment)Winder, Bennington MillsJuly 27, 194322Manila American Cemetery, PhilippinesPlot D, Row 2, Grave 135James Nelson Cook was the son of James Howard Cook (1894-1960) and Agnes Mildred (Scott) Cook (1892-1960). His father was born in Everett, Mass.; his mother – in Barr Settlement, Hants Co., NS.Sergeant Cook married Gladys Mae McEckron (1922-1985), of his home town of Bennington, Vermont, on February 6, 1942 in Bradford, Florida where he was stationed. Gladys was the daughter of Harold Andrew McEckron and Harriett Alice “Allie” (West) McEckron, both of Bennington, Vermont.He was trained at Camp Blanding in Florida. Between 1940 and 1943, nine US Army infantry divisions trained at Camp Blanding, including the 1st, 29th, 30th, 31st, 36th, 63rd, 66th, 79th, and James Cook’s 43rd Infantry Division.The 172nd Regiment was organised as a Regimental Combat Team for service in the Pacific. It almost saw disaster at Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides on October 26, 1942, when its troop transport, the liner SS President Coolidge, struck two US mines in the harbour. The captain, realizing that the ship was lost, attempted to run it aground so that the troops could disembark. The ship sank, but the regiment got ashore with few casualties, to fight in the New Georgia Campaign, including during the Drive on Munda Point.With the 172nd Regiment, Sergeant Cook would have taken part in the Drive to Munda Point offensive which took place from July 2 to 17, 1943 on the island of New Georgia in the Solomon Islands. He was killed in the Capture of Munda Point (July 22 to August 4, 1943).He was initially buried in the US Army temporary burial cemetery #6928, USAF Cemetery, “Finschaffen #4” (Finschhafen), in Papua New Guinea. With grave consolidation, he was re interred at the Manila American Cemetery in the Philippines.
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