Earle Fremont Cook – Major General, United States Army



Major General Earle F. Cook, the nineteenth Chief Signal Officer, witnessed the evolution of Signal Corps technology from the wire and AM radio technology of the 1930s to the satellite era of the 1950s and 1960s. His career in the Corps included intelligence, research and development, Army communications, electronic equipment and systems, meteorological devices, and finally activities involving the direction of Signal Corps efforts in space age developments.

After World War II assignments that included Director of Signal Intelligence Division, European Theater of Operations and Chief of the Army Security Agency, Europe, Cook served as Assistant Signal Officer of the Fourth Army, Headquarters, U.S. Army Pacific. From July 1950 to May 1951, he was Signal Officer of the Marshall Islands. He later took part in the atomic tests conducted by Joint Task Force Number Three.

As Commanding Officer of the White Sands Signal Corps Agency from 1952 to 1954, Cook began as early association with missile electronics work. When the Army's Electronic Proving Ground was activated at Fort Huachuca, Cook was deputy commander while many of the new communication electronic and surveillance equipment were undergoing tests and evaluations.

Cook's jobs at the Department of Army level included command in 1955 of the U.S. Army Signal Research and Development Laboratory. It was during this time that he became a brigadier general. As Chief of the Research and Development Division, Office of the Chief Signal Officer, Cook directed Signal responsibilities in Project SCORE, the “talking satellite” developed by the Signal Corps for the Advanced Research Projects Agency of the Department of Defense.

On 1 July 1962, General Cook became the Chief Signal Officer of the United States Army. After his retirement in 1963, Cook joined the Staff of Radio Engineering Laboratories as Director, Technical Operations, Eastern Area.

Jessie Dent Cook, 87, a military spouse, volunteer and homemaker, died of congestive heart failure May 23, 2008, at the Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington County. She lived in Arlington.

Mrs. Cook was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania. After graduating from Skidmore College, she moved to Washington to work as a secretary in Army intelligence. She later was sent to Germany and the Netherlands for the Army.

She married an Army officer and left the workforce in 1953. She went with her husband to posts in New Mexico, Arizona and New Jersey before returning to the Washington area in 1959.

Mrs. Cook volunteered with the Arlington Food Assistance Center.

Her husband, retired Army Major General Earle F. Cook, died in 1989.

Survivors include two daughters, Lesley Whitney of Vienna and Mary Lynch of Audubon, New Jersey; a brother; nine grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandson.

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