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First Name: Orval

Last Name: Cook

Birthplace: West Union, IN, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Air Force (1947 - present)

Middle Name: Ray

Date of Birth: 27 July 1898

Date of Death: 18 March 1980

Rank: General

Years Served: 1922-1956
Orval Ray Cook

Graduate, U.S. Military Academy, Class of 1922

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Orval Ray Cook
General, U.S. Air Force

Orval Ray Cook was born on 27 July 1898 in West Union, IN. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy on 13 June 1922, and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant of Air Service.

Cook began his flying career at the Primary Flying School at Brooks Field, TX. After completing the primary course, he attended Advanced Flying School at Kelly Field, TX. Upon graduation in January 1924, he remained there as an instructor. In August 1924, he joined the Third Pursuit Squadron at Clark Field in the Philippines, where he remained until his return to Brooks Field, in September 1926, as Assistant Engineering Officer and Flying Instructor at the Primary Flying School.

He entered the Air Corps Engineering School at Wright Field, OH, in June 1929. Cook graduated a year later and was assigned to the Aircraft Branch at Materiel Division Headquarters there. In June 1934, he became an instructor at the U.S. Military Academy. In 1938 he graduated from the Air Corps Tactical School at Maxwell Field, AL, and graduated from the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, KS, in June 1939.

In 1941, he was assigned to the Air Corps Material Center at Wright Field and served with the Engineering Section of the Production Division. He became Chief of the Engineering Section in April 1942. That November he was named District Supervisor, Eastern Procurement Division, U.S. Army Air Forces Material Center, in New York City. In May 1943, he returned to Wright Field as Chief of the Production Division, U.S. Army Air Forces Material Center. During 1944-45, he was Chief of the Procurement Division, Air Technical Service Command, at Wright Field.

Ordered to the Southwest Pacific in June 1945, Cook was Deputy Commander of the Far East Air Service Command in Okinawa where he established an Air Force Depot and directed Air Force supply and maintenance activities in that area. Later in 1945, he was Commanding General of the 5290th Air Service Command (Provisional), also in Okinawa.

After cessation of hostilities in Japan, he was sent there to establish an Air Depot and to become Commanding General of the VII Air Service Area Command. In January 1946, he went to Manila, Philippines, to be Commanding General of the Far East Air Service Command (later re-designated as Pacific Air Service Command). In June 1946, Cook became Deputy Director of the Service, Supply and Procurement Division (later, Logistics Division), War Department General Staff, in Washington, DC.

In July 1948, he returned to the old Wright Field (which had now been renamed Wright-Patterson Air Force Base) to serve as Deputy Director of Procurement and Industrial Mobilization Planning, Air Material Command. A few weeks later, he was named Deputy to the Commanding General for Operations, Air Material Command, and, in September 1949, as Director of Procurement and Industrial Mobilization Planning, Air Material Command.

From 1951-54, Lieutenant General Cook was Deputy Chief of Staff for Material, Headquarters U.S. Air Force in Washington. In that position, in September 1953 he was given responsibility (within the Air Staff) for overall supervision of Air Force R&D. In an effort to improve weapon systems management in ARDC and Air Materiel Command, Cook formed an advisory group to investigate the concept of "cradle to grave" procurement (i.e., detailed planning for research, development, testing, producing, maintaining, repairing and, ultimately, disposing of a weapon system). A key feature of this concept was the "fly before you buy" approach, which insured that an initial production run of aircraft or missiles would be thoroughly tested and declared operationally suitable before the Air Force committed itself to full-scale production and deployment of a weapon system.

On 1 April 1954, Cook became Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. European Command (EUCOM), which was then located in Frankfurt, Germany. On 3 May 1954, EUCOM relocated its headquarters to Camp des Loges, a French Army base west of Paris, France. He remained in his position at EUCOM until his retirement on 31 May 1956.

During Cook's active service, the effective dates of his promotions were as follows:

He was promoted to First Lieutenant (permanent) 14 May 1927; to Captain (permanent) 1 August 1935; to Major (temporary) 12 October 1940; to Lieutenant Colonel (temporary) 12 October 1941; to Colonel (temporary) 2 March 1942; to Brigadier General (temporary) 8 November 1943; to Lieutenant Colonel (permanent) 13 June 1945; to Major General (temporary) 2 February 1947; to Brigadier General (permanent) 19 February 1948; to Lieutenant General (temporary) 28 July 1951; to General, (temporary) 1 April 1954.

Medals, Awards and Badge

Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Command Pilot Badge

He was also rated as a Combat Observer and Aircraft Observer.


Orval married Minna Edwards on 11 September 1925 in Manila, Philippines. After his retirement from active duty, he and Minna lived in Falls Church, VA.

Death and Burial

General Orval Ray Cook died on 18 March 1980 in Falls Church, at the age of 81. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA, in Section 11, Lot 586.

Upon her death on 5 November 1988, Minna was laid to rest beside her husband.

Honoree ID: 697   Created by: MHOH




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