(About my cousin)
It was necessary to establish airfields and supply points for the January 1945 invasion of Luzon as America reclaimed the Philippines. Mindoro was the attack point and on December 13 two days before the planned invasion the Navy invading fleet came under attack by the Japanese air force. The USS Nashville was hit by a Kamikaze plane killing 133 men and wounding another 190. She stayed in the action but the flag was removed to another ship and the Nashville returned for repairs. On the 15th the American 6th Army under Lt. General Walter Kroger made the invasion with light resistance. The Navy and Army Air Force took out 700 Japanese airplanes and so crippled the enemy that the skies belonged to American for the rest of the war.
Cpr. Meredith Cook made the invasion on that December day and found himself in the North East part of Mindoro by December 22. His platoon was sent into the jungle to round up any of the enemy still active. Cook and the others of the platoon were divided during a firefight and darkness found them lost and separated. He took cover in a drainage ditch to wait for the morning light. The next day a group of Japanese walked over his body and camped within hearing distance. Cook remained for the next two days in the thick of the jungle ditch before relief came to route the enemy. That night back with the company they sung songs of Christmas and gave thanks that all were accounted for and safe. Christmas 1944 may have been spent in a ditch on Mindoro but Christmas 1945 was shared with his family on Cherry Street in Dyersburg, Tennessee.
Cpr. Meredith Cook was my first cousin, the oldest son of my father’s sister, Oma Cook and her husband Hershel; they had two sons in the Second World War and one in Korea.