Charlotte, NC

Name: Glenn R. 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.

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 controllers (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 armor 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 Espenshied.

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

Cook - last flight

Source: POW Network

On 21 Oct 1969 Captain Glenn Cook, 21st TASS, and Major John Espenshied, 558th TFS, were aboard an O-2A Cessna observation aircraft controlling an air strike in the hills about 25 miles west of Nha Trang when the aircraft went down.

Although the general area of the loss was known - where the Provinces of Tuyen Duc, Ninh Thuan and Khanh Hoa meet - SAR efforts were unsuccessful and the wreckage was not found. Since there was way of knowing whether the two men had died or were captured, they were listed as Missing In Action.

Neither of the two was identified as a prisoner of war, nor were they released with other American POWs in 1973. In December 1988, the Vietnamese "discovered" the remains of an American and returned them to U.S. control on 23 January 1989. On 01 June 1989, the remains were identified as those of John Espenshied.

Captain Glenn Cook's remains have not been located.

Source: Virtual Wall