COOK, DENNIS PHILIP
Name: Dennis Philip Cook
Rank/Branch: O3/US Navy
Unit: Attack Squadron 212, USS HANCOCK (CVA 19)
Date of Birth: 01 November 1936
Home City of Record: Santa Barbara CA
Date of Loss: 06 April 1966
Country of Loss: South Vietnam/Over Water (See Text)
Loss Coordinates: 175831N 1080133E (AK850900)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 30 April 1990 from one or more of
the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence
with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W.
SYNOPSIS: The USS HANCOCK first saw action in Vietnam when aircraft from her
decks flew strikes against enemy vessels in Saigon Harbor in late 1944. The
Essex class carrier, extensively modernized, returned to Vietnam during the
early years of the Vietnam war. The attack carriers USS CORAL SEA, USS
HANCOCK and USS RANGER formed Task Force 77, the carrier striking force of
the U.S. Seventh Fleet in the Western Pacific. The HANCOCK was the smallest
type of flattop to operate in the Vietnam theater, but pilots from her
fighter and attack squadrons distinguished themselves throughout the
duration of the war. On June 12, 1966, Commander Hal Marr, the CO of VF-211
gained the first F8 Russian MiG kill.
LT Dennis P. Cook was a pilot assigned to Attack Squadron 212 onboard the
aircraft carrier USS HANCOCK, then stationed off Dixie Station in the South
China Sea. On April 6, 1966, he was preparing to launch in his A4E Skyhawk
light attack aircraft. due to a catapult malfunction his aircraft did not
have sufficient acceleration on launch and the aircraft settled into the
water with no apparent ejection attempted. An extensive search was conducted
throughout the crash site area, but no remains of LT Cook were located.
(NOTE: Although all government data states that the country of loss for LT
Cook was South Vietnam/Over Water, the loss coordinates given above,
obtained from government data, are located in the Gulf of Tonkin, offshore
from North Vietnam approximately 100 miles east of the city of Ron. The grid
coordinates [AK850 900] indicate a loss in the South China Sea. No
explanation can be found for this apparent discrepancy, but the weight of
data indicates that the loss did occur offshore from South Vietnam in spite
of the discrepancy.)
LT Cook was placed in a Dead/Non-battle casualty status. Because his remains
were never recovered he is listed among the unaccounted for U.S. servicemen
from the Vietnam War.
During the period of July-September 1973 an overwater/at sea casualty
resolution operation was conducted to determine the feasibility of pursuing
recovery on incidents such as that of LT Dennis Cook. Because of the lack of
any positive results whatsoever, the at-sea operations were terminated. It
was decided that LT Cook and others lost at sea would never be recovered.
My name is Ron Jones and I was stationed aboard (CVA-19) U.S.S. Hancock (V-6 Div. LOX) during her 1965-66
WESTPAC deployment. I kept a daily log of incidents for the entire cruise, including 06 April 1966, the day of Lt.
I note in Lt. Cook’s bio, there is some confusion as to where Hancock was located at the time of his loss. My log
shows that Hancock joined (CVAN-65) U.S.S. Enterprise on Yankee Station on Friday, 01 April 1966, and remained
there until departing for Sasebo on Easter Sunday, 10 April 1966.
My log entry for 06 April 1966 contains the following information regarding Lt. Cook’s loss: “A4 (233) and pilot
lost due to cold cat shot”.
Based on this, I think the loss coordinates reported, i.e., 175831N, 1080133E are correct, and that the reported grid
location AK850 900 (located off S. Vietnam) is in error.
Should you have any questions regarding this, or any other (CVA-19) related incidents that occurred during
the ’65-’66 deployment, please don’t hesitate in contacting me.