CW2 John "Jack" J Cooley was a VHPA member who died after his tour in Vietnam on 08/17/2004 at the age of 57.4 from A/C accident
Cheney, WA
Flight Classes 66-23 and 66-21
Date of Birth 03/31/1947
Served in the U.S. Army
Served in Vietnam with B/25 AVN 25 INF in 67-68
Call sign in Vietnam DIAMOND HEAD
This information was provided by Obituary, Neill McDonald

More detail on this person: Killed in a helicopter crash as he was installing a major power transmission line.

Washington State - John Jack J. Cooley, III, 57, died Tuesday August 17, 2004 in Mead, Washington from injuries suffered in a helicopter accident. Mr. Cooley was a native of Savannah. He attended Blessed Sacrament School and was a 1965 graduate of Benedictine Military School. In 1966, Jack joined the US. Army and was asked. Do you want to fly? He said yes, later telling friends that, at the time, he thought it would be safer in the air than on the ground. He trained as a helicopter pilot and served with B Company, 25th Aviation Battalion, 24th Infantry in Vietnam from 1966 to 1969 as a warrant officer. He piloted gunships and emerged a decorated Veteran, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star and several air medals. After the leaving the service, he flew the Amazon Basin for an oil exploration company. He also worked the Gulf of Mexico for another oil company and lived on production platforms just large enough for 150 people and three helicopters. Then he moved to Saudi Arabia where he worked primarily in the Persian Gulf. He spent two years flying for the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management in northern California. In 1979 he was hired by Bonneville Power Administration and flew for BPA s transmission design organization. He transported staff to support the survey section of the Garrison-Taft line in the early 80 s. He flew helicopter line patrol for the Spokane Region which includes Washington, northern Idaho and Western Montana. During his years at BPA he won a number of commendations including awards, quality step increases and letters of appreciation for his excellent service. At the time of the accident he was piloting one of BPA s helicopters doing support work on the Grand Coulee-Bell transmission line. He and his wife settled in Cheney, Washington in 1983 with their cat, dogs and horses. He loved telling stories and entertaining friends and family. Walleye fishing and hun ting were among his favorite activities. His passion, though, was his wife and the years they shared. His wife of 28 years, Mary Anne MAC Corda Cooley, sisters and brothers-in-law, Grace and Jay Scholfield of Atlanta, GA, Nancy and Jay Smith of Savannah, GA and nephews, Christopher Smith of Savannah and Kevin and Logan Scholfield of Atlanta, and numerous relatives and friends survives him. His parents, Jack and Catharine Cooley, preceded him in death. There will be a gathering of friends and family at the Corda s family ranch in Novato, California on September 5th, 2004 to celebrate the life of this special man who will be missed by so many. There will also be a memorial in Savannah on October 9th, 2004 at the Tybee Island Memorial Park for friends and relatives. Memorial contributions may be made to the charity of your choice. Savannah Morning News, August 29, 2004 Please sign our Obituary Guestbook at

Published in Savannah Morning News from Aug. 28 to Aug. 29, 2004

Below from: Neill McDonald

John "Jack" Cooley died 17 August 2004 in a helicopter crash

Oh no, oh no_please not Jack. I spoke with him a few years ago, and it hurt a bit because he didn't remember me. Jack was a good guy. One of the few I had searched for since getting out, just to say thanks for bringing me back alive, time after time. Jack Cooley (although he now goes by John. I think "Jack" is appropriate considering how much he invested in Jack Daniels) has a few notable entries in my memoirs. At the top of the list, his insistence, after a hairy mission, to join him at the Officers Club. He was already pretty hammered when he came to the crew chief hooch and ordered us to accompany him to get a drink at the O Club. Well we made it through the front door but that was about it. A Major said he didn't recognize us and Jack stepped up to say we were with him. It just went down hill from there. It took three of us to pull Jack off this hysterical Major (probably from HQ) and drag him back to his hooch. When we got to Jacks place, Mr. Banner (I think) had a Donut Dolly on his lap and to say the least, it was real awkward. We invited Jack to finish off the night in the crew chief hooch, but Jack had just been kicked out of the O Club, and he wasn't about to get kicked out of his own place. There was the obligatory yelling and pushing and somewhere in there, Jacks knees just gave out. With one of us on each arm and each leg, we dragged him out the door, figuring we could hide our good friend in our hooch until we were all cooled off a bit. In trying to get across one of the drainage ditches, the two guys holding Jacks arms jumped over the dip, without coordinating this maneuver with the guys holding his legs. We lost Jack mid leap, and he ended up head first in the ditch. Talk about your bad day. And of course, all this commotion is happening right outside the Commanding Officers quarters, who has been rousted from his sleep by the loud cursing and panicked conversations on how to get Jack out of there, pronto. Luckily, it was real dark, and someone had the good sense to tell the C.O. one of our "friends" had too much to drink, and we were just trying to get him to bed. The Old Man muttered a few indirect comments as he walked away, not bothering to identify our precious cargo. When Jack woke up the next morning, he grumbled about a terrible hang over, and shuffled off to take a shower. I will miss Jack dearly. When Jack and Bo were flying 440, the "Be-Bop" (as Captain Reynolds used to call it) was always cranked up loud on the headsets. I met many fine people on my tour, and Jack was one of the best. He will always fill an important part of my life. Although he would prefer that I not salute him, please know Jack, that I offer it from the heart, as a token of respect and admiration for a fallen brother. My condolences to the Family, who I'm sure miss him greatly.

From: Todd Frye, We are both on the Diamondhead Crew Chief page leaning. against 440 somewhere in the boonies.

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