COOK, GLENN RICHARD
|Name: Glenn Richard Cook
Rank/Branch: O2/US Air Force
Unit: 21 TFW
Date of Birth: 10 September 1945
Home City of Record: Charlotte NC
Date of Loss: 21 October 1969
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 121000N 1084700E (BP588495)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Other Personnel in Incident: John L. Espenshield, remains returned 1989
Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK June 1997 from one or more of the
following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with
POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. 2020
SYNOPSIS: Major John Espenshied was the observer aboard an O2A Cessna
observation aircraft on a flight over South Vietnam on October 21, 1969.
Captain Glenn Cook was the pilot of the aircraft.
The O2 was a stopgap replacement aircraft for the O1 "Birddog" until the
North American OV10A arrived in Vietnam. The O1, O2 and OV10 served as
vehicles for forward air contollers (FAC) in Vietnam, as well as
reconnaissance aircraft. The small aircraft would fly in rather low and mark
targets for armed aircraft to follow with airstrikes. The O1, O2 and OV10
were a sure signal to the Vietnamese that bombing would follow, and while
they were greatly feared for a time, as time passed, the enemy became more
and more aggressive in trying to knock the planes out before the impending
strikes could be directed. All three aircraft lacked adequate armour to
protect its passengers from heavy anti-aircraft fire.
At a point where the Provinces of Tuyen Duc, Ninh Thuan and Khanh Hoa meet,
the aircraft went down, and neither man was found. At the time, the U.S.
judged that there could be no way of knowing whether the enemy found the
crash, or whether they had been killed or survived. They were listed as
Missing In Action.
For four years, Espenshied's family waited to see if he had been captured,
and would be released with other American POWs in 1973, but he was not. The
Vietnamese, who had pledged earlier that year to release all POWs and
account for as many as possible of the missing, denied any knowledge of
For the next 15 years, reports flowed in relating to Americans missing in
Southeast Asia. By the end of 1988, over 8,000 of them had been received by
the U.S. convincing many authorities that hundreds of Americans are still
alive in captivity. The Espenshied family did not want to write their man
off as dead, but yet the thought that he could be alive and abandoned to the
enemy was more than they could bear.
In December, 1988, the Vietnamese "discovered" the body of John Espenshied
and returned it to U.S. control. Like nearly 2500 other Americans, alive and
dead, he had been a chess piece in a political game for nearly 20 years.
For the Espenshied family, life can be resumed without the horror of not
knowing. For nearly 2500 other families, however, the agony continues. And
for hundreds of abandoned American prisoners, life goes on.