Cook, Marlin Curtis, SFC

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Last Rank
Sergeant First Class
Last Service Branch
Last Primary MOS
11F10-Infantry Operations And Intelligence Specialist
Last MOS Group
Infantry (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1965-1966, 11F40, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne)
Service Years
1948 - 1966

Special Forces
Sergeant First Class

Six Service Stripes

Two Overseas Service Bars

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SSG Josh Gennari (G-Lost) to remember Cook, Marlin Curtis, SFC.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Vernon, AL
Last Address
Fayetteville, NC

Casualty Date
Jan 29, 1966
Hostile, Died
Multiple Fragmentation Wounds
Vietnam, South (Vietnam)
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Lafayette Memorial Park - Fayetteville, North Carolina
Wall/Plot Coordinates
04E 106/ Lake View Section, Lot 72, Space 1

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 


 Military Associations and Other Affiliations
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  2013, Vietnam Veterans Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

Combat Infantryman 1st Award
Parachutist (Basic)

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
Detachment B-52 (Project Delta), Company E (Provisional) Detachment C-5 (Special Operations)5th Special Forces Group (Airborne)
  1965-1966, 11F40, Detachment B-52 (Project Delta), Company E (Provisional) Detachment C-5 (Special Operations)
  1965-1966, 11F40, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1965-1965 Vietnam War/Defense Campaign (1965)
  1966-1966 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Campaign (1965-66)
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
According to Chuck Hiner and the records, the team was inserted into the An Lo Valley at last light on 27 January 1966. Two wet days later as it was raining hard, the six-man team was sitting down taking a break when it came under heavy fire from a large force of Viet Cong.

"In the initial burst of fire Cook, Weber, and Hoaglund were hit," said Hiner "and I don't know but I think Dotson and Hancock were hit then too. I don't know for sure because they were on flank security. When we got hit I went to the top of the hill to keep anybody from coming over the hill on top of us.

"Cook (the radio man) was flank security on the left side and he couldn't get to the radio -- he was paralyzed. He called me back down and I cut the radio off him.

"There was a pile of rocks in the middle of this clearing so I took the radio in there and lay down on it and started calling.

"I called everybody and their mother who would answer.

"We kept getting fire in on us and fire in on us.

"After we got the FAC (Forward Air Controller, a Capt. Kenneth L. Kerr) on the radio and started doing our shit I started looking around. I could hear Dotson. He was hit through the chest and I could hear that death rattle. This other kid (Hancock) -- first trip in, first time on the ground, the whole nine yards -- he was dead. They had stitched him from the ankle to the top of his head. Hoaglund was more-or-less still alive. Cook lasted a long time in there but he finally died, I guess maybe about 1:00 or 2:00 o'clock that afternoon."

Webber had four bullets, all in the arm, from the first burst of fire and shortly after it started Hiner was wounded when he was shot in the head by a VC firing an AK-47.

"The dude shot at me the same time I shot at him," said Hiner. "I hit him first, though, and it caused him to jerk up. It (the round) went about a quarter of an inch in my scalp. It went down into the bone and just left a perfect groove.

"I had called airstrikes in on top of our position to keep from getting overrun. It was either do that or get overrun so 'What the hell.'

"We were fighting -- I would dare say the closest -- within 10 feet of each other. It was that tight. That's why, when I popped smoke and told the FAC to take it 360 degrees from the center of that, he said 'I can't do it because it will come in on you.'

"I said well it's either you or them. And that's the way it went.

"He didn't like it but I didn't like it either."

During a lull near the end of the battle, which lasted four hours, Hiner crawled down the slope to strip the dead -- Hoaglund, Dotson and Hancock -- of their ammo since he and Webber were almost out.

Hiner said when he got back to Hoaglund, he found him on his back, beside a tree, with the rifle muzzle pointing toward his head. "He had one arm shot off, the other was hanging by a thread."

During the final minutes of the battle, two reaction forces moved frantically through the thick bush toward Hiner's position. One was from the 1st Air Cav., the other, that was first on the ground, was a Reaction Force from Project Delta commanded by a Lt. Holland -- and led by Sgt Maj. Walt Shumate, who later became an SF legend in his role as the Sgt. Maj. for "charging"Charlie Beckwith in many SF-commands.

"You know when I knew I had made it?" asked Hiner, who recounted that he and Webber, down to just a few rounds between them were crouched down behind a log. 

"I looked up and saw Walt's bare ass coming over the top of that log. Walt told me later he was busting bush so hard and fast coming up that hill, he had busted out his pants."
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 8, 1918 (amended by act of July 25, 1963), takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to Sergeant First Class Marlin Curtis Cook (ASN: RA-14265805), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam. On 29 January 1966, Sergeant Cook, a member of Detachment B-52, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces, was part of a six-man reconnaissance team which infiltrated the northern sector of the An Lao Valley. While stopped to listen for sounds of an unusual nature, they were suddenly subjected to hostile fore from insurgents in well-fortified positions. Despite the fact that he had been seriously wounded, Sergeant Cook, realizing that total annihilation was threatened, immediately began firing at insurgent positions. Unable to move because of his wounds, Sergeant Cook directed a comrade in the use of his radio and called in air strikes upon the Viet Cong positions. He continued to render support to surviving team members by continuously placing effective small arms fire on known and suspected insurgent positions. Sergeant Cook succumbed to his wounds after two hours of continuous fighting. Sergeant Cook's extraordinary heroism and gallantry in action were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Army and reflect great credit upon himself and the military service.

General Orders: Headquarters, U.S. Army, Pacific, General Orders No. 109 (May 18, 1966)

Action Date: 29-Jan-66

Service: Army

Rank: Sergeant First Class

Company: Detachment B-52

Regiment: 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne)

Division: 1st Special Forces
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