At 19, Joseph Edward Cook enlisted with the United States Army. He completed 14 weeks of basic and advanced infantry training at Fort Benning, Ga.
After completing his training, Cook was assigned to the 23rd Infantry Regiment at Fort Lewis, Wash. From Fort Lewis, he deployed to Iraq, where he served as a Stryker Interim Armored Vehicle gunner with Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment.
Cook and Charlie Company began their deployment patrolling and conducting combat missions in high risk areas of Mosul. From Mosul, Cook and his company were sent to Baghdad and assigned as a quick reaction force, remaining on call to provide support throughout the city.
While on a routine patrol in Baghdad, Cook and his Stryker column were struck by an improvised explosive device. The IED detonated directly under the vehicle, launching a large slab of metal through the floor and severely injuring Cook’s leg. He was quickly rushed to the medical Stryker in the rear of his column and received emergency medical attention before being evacuated to a field hospital. After undergoing leg amputation surgery and stabilizing, Cook was sent back to the U.S., where he recovered from his injury.
He received the Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal and Army Achievement Medal during his service.
After being discharged at the rank of sergeant, Cook went on to start his own business providing valet parking at VA hospitals.
More of his story is at: http://memory.loc.gov/diglib/vhp/bib/loc.natlib.afc2001001.86604
Thank you for your service.
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Veterans History Project
This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.
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Editor: Jenna Robles
Fact Checker: Tavia Wager