Retired Aug. 31, 1980.
Major General Gerald E. Cooke is commandant of the Air Force Institute of Technology and commandant of the Defense Institute of Security Assistance Management at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. A component of Air University, under the Air Training Command, the Air Force Institute of Technology administers and conducts resident degree-granting and continuing education programs in engineering, systems and logistics, and civil engineering and manages the educational programs of active-duty students attending civilian universities and medical schools throughout the world.
The Defense Institute of Security Assistance Management provides consolidated security assistance management education to Army, Navy and Air Force personnel as well as other federal employees and representatives of foreign governments. It also conducts research and offers consultation services in security assistance to interested agencies.
General Cooke was born in 1925 in West Jefferson, Ohio, and graduated from high school in London, Ohio. He received his bachelor of science degree in military science from the University of Maryland in 1959, a master's degree in international relations from San Francisco State College in 1963, and a doctorate in government and politics from the University of Maryland in 1969. He graduated from the Air War College in 1968.
General Cooke enlisted in the aviation cadet program in August 1943, and graduated in January 1945, with a commission as a second lieutenant and his pilot wings. He then completed photographic reconnaissance training in P-38 aircraft. After World War II, General Cooke became a member of the Air Force Reserve and returned to civilian life. He worked as a commercial pilot, test pilot, and flight instructor.
General Cooke returned to active duty in January 1951, and served with Headquarters Air Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. In December 1951, he went to Korea where he flew RB-26 photographic reconnaissance and bombardment missions. He returned to the United States in April 1952, and was a B-26, B-45, and B-57 pilot at George Air Force Base, Calif., and Hill Air Force Base, Utah.
In June 1955, General Cooke was transferred to Rhein-Main Air Base, Germany, where he flew RB-57s in a special photographic reconnaissance program. In September 1959, he returned to the United States to serve in the Minuteman System Program Office of the Ballistic Systems Division in Los Angeles, Calif. He entered San Francisco State College in June 1962, under an Air Force Institute of Technology program.
In September 1963, General Cooke was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., as a requirements and test management staff officer in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Programs and Requirements. In May 1965, he was transferred to the Directorate of Operations where he served as an operations staff officer. In October 1966, he was assigned to test and evaluation duty with the Defense Communications Planning Group located at the Naval Observatory in Washington. He entered the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., in August 1967.
General Cooke went to the Republic of Vietnam in September 1968 and served as assistant chief of staff at Headquarters Seventh Air Force. Upon his return to the United States in September 1969, he was assigned to the staff of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (International Security Affairs).
From October 1970 to May 1973, General Cooke served with Headquarters Air Force Systems Command at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. He was assistant deputy chief of staff, development planning for policy and director of general purpose and airlift system development plans in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans until August 1971, when he became assistant deputy chief of staff, operations.
In July 1973, General Cooke was appointed director, Air Force Board Structure, Office of the Vice Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force, and in August 1974, became secretary for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington, D.C. Upon completion of his tenure as secretary in June 1976, General Cooke was assigned as deputy for operations (Reconnaissance and Electronic Warfare), Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In April 1978, he assumed his present command.
General Cooke is a command pilot and wears the Missileman Badge. His military decorations and awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Unit Citation, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, and the Republic of Vietnam Medal of Honor, 1st Class.
He was promoted to the grade of major general April 1, 1977, with date of rank Dec. 1, 1973.