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1942 Douglas 2023

Douglas Watkins Cook

February 14, 1942 — May 26, 2023

Captain Douglas W. Cook, U.S. Navy Retired


Captain Douglas W. Cook, U.S. Navy (Retired), passed away at home on May 26, 2023. He was 81.


Captain Cook was born on February 14, 1942 to the late Richard and Frances (Watkins) Cook. Upon graduation from high school in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Cook was recruited to play professional baseball. He opted instead to attend Georgia Tech on a baseball and Naval Reserve Officers' Training Corps (NROTC) scholarship. In 1964 Cook graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Management. He was then commissioned into the United States Navy and entered Naval Flight Training. Cook was designated a Naval Flight Officer at Corpus Christi, TX in December 1965.


Following Captain Cook's initial assignment with Air Transport 22 (V R-22), Moffett Field, California, he reported to Reconnaissance Attack Squadron 3 (RVAH-3) in Sanford, Florida for RA-SC transition training and subsequent assignment to RVAH-6. He made combat deployments to VietNam aboard the USS Ranger (CV 61) and the USS Enterprise (CVN 65). Cook was then assigned to the Naval Air Test Center, Patuxent River, Maryland, where he graduated from the US Naval Test Pilot School in 1970 and completed a subsequent assignment as an engineering test flight officer.


Captain Cook was one of two NFOs’ selected to attend Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, MD. After graduating from the Armed Forces Staff College in 1976, Cook returned to RVAH-3 as an instructor. In 1977, he graduated from the Electronic Warfare Officers Course at the Naval Technical Training Center, Pensacola, Florida and completed EA-6B transition training in Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 129 (VAQ-129), Naval Air Station, Whidbey Island, Washington. He then reported as Executive Officer to VAQ-132. 


Captain Cook, was the first NFO selected to command a tactical electronic warfare squadron – VAQ-132 on USS Constellation and USS Dwight D. Eisenhour deployments during 1979. After graduation from the Program Management Course at the Defense Systems Management College in 1980, Cook reported to Naval Air Systems Command as Deputy Program Manager for the EA-6B Aircraft Program in Crystal City, VA. In 1984, he was assigned to the staff of the director of Research and Development Requirements, Test and Evaluation (OP-098) as Head, Strike Warfare Branch. He went on to establish the Low Observables Technology and Special Program Development Division (OP-984), serving as its first director. From 1987 to 1989, Cook was Executive Assistant to Commander, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command and Command Inspector General. In August 1989, he assumed command of the Naval Weapons Center at China Lake, CA. On January 22, 1992, he became Vice Commander of the Naval Air Warfare Center - Weapons Division with principal sites at Point Mugu and China Lake, California. The following year, he reported to the Naval Facilities Engineering System Command in Washington D.C. as Program Manager for the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Program.


Captain Cook's awards include: Legion of Merit (4 awards), Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with Strike Flight Devise (5 awards), Navy Commendation Medal with Combat V for Valor (2 awards), and Navy Achievement Medal, as well as unit awards and campaign ribbons.


Captain Cook is survived by his wife of 33 years, Robin (Stout) Cook; son, Brian Cook (Delia) of Boulder, Colorado; daughter, Erin Cook of Steam Boat Springs, Colorado; three grandchildren, Anna, Braeden, and Bianca Cook.


A Memorial Service will be held at a later date. For further information, call St. Barnabas Episcopal Church on Bainbridge Island, WA at (206) 842-5601.


Burial with Full Military Honors will take place at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.


In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made in memory of Captain Douglas W. Cook to: 


China Lake Museum Foundation, 130 E. Las Flores Ave, Ridgecrest, CA 93555, (760) 677-2866


Condolences can be shared here.


Arrangements entrusted to Cook Family Funeral Home of Bainbridge Island, WA.

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