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
Category: 4
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: O2A
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.


Glenn R. Cook
MIA: 21 October 1969
Saw the article on Lt Glen Cook as just today I ran across a picture of "the last flight" of
Glen Cook and John Espenshield.  I was flying the same day out of Cam Rahn Bay, 0-2,
21 TASS, and Glen was giving Maj Espenshield an observer ride.  He heard I was up
and located my airplane and flew up on my wing.  For some reason I had a camera and
I snapped the picture - when developed I noted the "Last flight of Glen Cook" on it and
it somehow disappeared for 30 some years.   His flight never returned - absolutely
unknown why.  They started a SAR that afternoon, but nothing was ever found. 
Don't know if this picture means anything to anyone, but it is authentic.

Jerry Shirley, Major, USAF Retired




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On October 21, 1969, an O-2A Skymaster (tail number 68-10975) with two crew members conducted an aerial reconnaissance mission over the To Hop Valley in South Vietnam. The aircraft made radio contact when it was in the vicinity of (GC) BP 587 459. At that time, the pilot reported that the weather in the original target area was unsuitable and that he was heading for a different target identified earlier. However, the Skymaster was not heard from again, and never returned to base. An extensive search and rescue effort over the mission area failed to locate the missing aircraft or a crash site. The remains of the observer aboard the aircraft were eventually recovered and identified, but the other crew member remains unaccounted for.

First Lieutenant Glenn Richard Cook, who entered the U.S. Air Force from North Carolina, served with the 21st Tactical Support Squadron and was the pilot of this Skymaster at the time of its loss. His body was not recovered. Following the incident, the Air Force promoted 1st Lt Cook to the rank of Captain (Capt). Today, Captain Cook is memorialized on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

Based on all information available, DPAA assessed the individual's case to be in the analytical category of Active Pursuit.

If you are a family member of this serviceman, DPAA can provide you with additional information and analysis of your case. Please contact your casualty office representative.

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