(Extensions of Remarks - March 21, 2018)

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[Congressional Record Volume 164, Number 49 (Wednesday, March 21, 2018)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E356]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]



                          HON. BRUCE WESTERMAN

                              of arkansas

                    in the house of representatives

                       Wednesday, March 21, 2018

  Mr. WESTERMAN. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize Sergeant Jack 
Coleman Cook of Hot Springs, Arkansas, for his heroic actions in World 
War II when he selflessly sacrificed his own life to save his fellow 
  Sergeant Cook was a ball turret gunner on a B-17 Flying Fortress, the 
``Challenger,'' with the 384th Bomb Group. On February 3, 1945, the 
384th Bomb Group participated in a mission to bomb the Tempelhof 
Railroad Marshalling Yards in Berlin. During the mission, the 
Challenger was hit by flak, damaging multiple engines, gas tanks, and 
the fuselage, but left the crew unharmed.
  As they made their way back to base in England, their plane began 
losing altitude and crash landed in the frigid North Sea. As soon as 
the plane hit the water, the crew members proceeded to abandon the 
aircraft and pull out the two life rafts, but only one fully inflated. 
The pilot and radio operator swam for the partially inflated raft, but 
the pilot succumbed to the cold and passed away, and the radio operator 
was dragged into the sea where he was lost.
  The rest of the crew swam for the closer, fully inflated raft. 
Sergeant Cook, the first to make it, helped four other crewmembers into 
the overcrowded raft, while two men stayed in the water. Edward Field, 
the navigator who stayed in the water, began to push their raft towards 
the second raft. After thirty minutes in the water, Edward Field became 
numb, and said that he could no longer hold on.
  Jack Coleman Cook got into the water so Edward Field could take his 
spot in the raft, where he continuously swam for forty-five minutes 
until they reached the second raft. Shortly after, Air-Sea rescue 
reached their position, but Sergeant Cook had little life left in him, 
and he passed away on the boat.
  Sergeant Cook selflessly sacrificed his own life so Edward Field and 
his fellow crewmembers could live. Those men returned to duty only four 
weeks after the crash, where they bravely fought through the rest of 
the war.
  Jack Coleman Cook is a true American hero who showed bravery and 
courage in a time of great circumstance. He gave his life for his 
fellow man, and for this, we remember him over seventy years later. It 
is with great pride that I honor Jack Coleman Cook.