Cerro Gordo County

S/Sgt. Dan Cookman






James L. Cookman, gunner’s mate 2/c, arrived in England following 15 months service in the Mediterranean area, according to word received by Mrs. Cookman, 841 4th S. W. Mate Cookman’s 2 brothers in the service are also in England and the 3 met after 3 years apart. Sgt. Dan Cookman is in the air corps and Lt. William Cookman in the army there. They are the sons of Mr. and Mrs. Leslie Cookman, 902 6th S. E.

Source: The Globe-Gazette, Mason City, Iowa, Wednesday, May 31, 1944, Page 3


Lt. Riveal and S. Sgt. Cookman Interviewed

Mason City Lions club members got a flyer’s-eye-view of the activities of the British and American air forces in Europ at their luncheon meeting Wednesday.

First Lt. Laakon Rivedal and S/Sgt. Dan Cookman, veterans of bombing missions from Norway to France, were guests of the club. Both flyers answered questions about their experiences, asked by various members of the group.

Sgt. Cookman, a tail gunner on a B-17 with a presidential citation, the purple heart and 32 missions to his credit, told the Lions that a tail gunner “mostly sits back there and prays” while his plane is over the target. His job started when enemy fighters attacked the big bomber, he said.

On D-Day, Sgt. Cookman said, his group flew 2 bombing missions to the Normandy beachhead. “I know my 2 brothers (First Lt. William Cookman and GM 2/C Jim Cookman) were fighting below me, and I was plenty worried about them.”

Asked if he thought he was in a better spot than his brothers, Sgt. Cookman said, “Sure – I was a lot safer!” Jim Cookman has recently been home on leave after 19 months overseas. Bill Cookman, at last reports, was in Germany with an infantry unit.

All 9 members of his bomber’s crew came through their quota of missions safely, Sgt. Cookman said, although he and the bombardier both were wounded by flak during a raid.

Lt. Rivedal, who joined the Royal Canadian air force in 1940 and completed 28 missions over Europe before transferring to the United States air force, is home on leave from Laredo, Texas, where he is now a gunnery instructor. He was overseas 3 ½ years.

Lt. Rivedal praised the spirit and courage of the people of Britain, who are in their 5th year of war, not very well fed, and living under the constant strain of the stiffest blackout regulations in Europe.

“Britain is a very poor nation,” the Norwegian-born Mason Cityan said. “It has only 1 major industry – coal mining – and must depend on its empire for sustenance.”

Guests at the meeting included John Peters of Des Moines, guest of C. W. Cowan; R. F. Clough, guest of W. A. Westfall; Luverne Hansen, guest of the Rev. A. N. Rogness, and A. V. O’Brien, guest of G. E. Mendon.

Source: The Globe-Gazette, Mason City, Iowa, Thursday, November 02, 1944, Page 8

NOTE: 1st Lt. William B. “Bill” Cookman was wounded in action October 15, 1944 in Germany and died the following day.