From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Franklin Cook, Jr. '39

Date of birth: July 28, 1918

Date of death: October 12, 1944

Age: 26

Lucky Bag

From the 1939 Lucky Bag:


Franklin was lost on October 12, 1944 during the Formosa Air Battle while piloting a F6F-5 Hellcat fighter with Fighting Squadron (VF) 19 from USS Lexington (CV 16). He was commanding officer of Fighting Squadron (VF) 19, "Satan's Kittens."

From Hellcat: The F6F in World War II By Barrett Tillman:

Fighting 19's sixteen fighters were not as lucky. When the four divisions became separated from one another, small formations of Hellcats were sometimes outnumbered by as much as six to one. The Lexington pilots fought tenaciously, claiming 27 kills in the frantic, fearful minutes the battle lasted. Three Hellcats were lost, as were two pilots: VF-19's skipper, Lieutenant F. E. Cook, and the flight officer [akin to today's Operations Officer billet], Lieutenant D. K. Tripp.

From Matthew Robins '04, via email on March 6, 2019

Both [Cook and Tripp] were killed in separate incidents while flying on the same mission, a large scale fighter sweep over the island of Formosa: Tripp was last seen flying F6F-5 #58036 in a large dogfight and shortly thereafter Cook was observed to crash in F6F-5 #58565 while making a strafing pass on Taichu Airfield.

Franklin's mother was listed as next of kin.

Distinguished Flying Cross

From Hall of Valor:

(Citation Needed) - SYNOPSIS: Lieutenant Commander Franklin E. Cook (NSN: 0-82386), United States Navy, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight during World War II.

General Orders: American Battle Monuments Commission
Action Date: World War II
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant Commander


His father was a Lieutenant when he died aboard USS Ranger (CV 4) on April 30, 1938.

Franklin Jr. was designated a naval aviator in 1942, #14618.

Related Articles

Donald Tripp '40 was lost in a separate action on the same flight.

Class of 1939

Franklin is one of 77 members of the Class of 1939 on Virtual Memorial Hall.