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“The First Marine Captured in Vietnam: A Biography of Donald G. Cook”

Wednesday, June 14, 2006  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Not many people know the story of Donald Cook. Here’s a brief summary of this new biography and a brief note on the author, Donald Price:

Colonel Donald Gilbert Cook was the first U.S. Marine captured in Vietnam; the first Marine in history to earn the Medal of Honor while in captivity; and the first Marine POW to have a U.S. Navy ship named in his honor, the USS Donald Cook (DDG-75). On December 31, 1964, while serving as an observer with a South Vietnamese Marine Corps battalion on a combat operation against Viet Cong forces, he was captured near the village of Binh Gia in South Vietnam. Until his death in captivity in December 1967, Cook led ten POWs in a series of primitive jungle camps. His leadership and adherence to the Marine Corps Code of Conduct earned him the nation’s highest military award, but Cook never received historical attention commensurate with his enormous accomplishments.

This is the first book-length biography of Colonel Donald G. Cook. With background information on Cook’s life and prewar career, the book concentrates especially on his three years in captivity, and is the first book exclusively about a Marine POW held in South Vietnam. It covers the ten other POWs under his command, including Sgt. Harold Bennett (the first American POW executed in Vietnam) and Sgt. Issac Camacho (the first American POW to escape in Vietnam). The author outlines the circumstances surrounding Cook’s Medal of Honor citation and death. Throughout, Cook’s adherence to the Corps’ traditional leadership principles and knowledge of the Code of Conduct are highlighted, and his biography is a unique case study of exemplary leadership under extremely difficult conditions. Nearly 70 photographs are included.

About the Author
Retired Marine Colonel Donald L. Price earned the Silver Star, three Bronze Stars and the Purple Heart for service in Vietnam. He lives in Sierra Vista, Arizona.

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