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COOK, Orville Melvin
COOK, Orville Melvin. (Savanna, IL-- ). Recipient, Navy Cross and Gold Star. On June 20, 1944, Ensign Cook was serving as a pilot of a carrier-based Navy dive bomber in Bombing Squadron 16 (VB-16) embarked from the U.S.S. Lexington in action again enemy Japanese forces in the First Battle of the Philippine Sea. Participating in a long-range attack on major units of the Japanese fleet, Cook skillfully maneuvered his plane to evade determined fighter opposition and intense enemy anti-aircraft fire and assisted essentially in the sinking of a large enemy aircraft carrier, in the probable sinking of another large carrier and in shooting down two enemy fighter planes. Upon fulfillment of the critical mission, Cook succeeded in completing the long return flight to base and in effecting a safe night landing aboard the Lexington. For his actions, he was awarded the Navy Cross.
On July 18, 1945, Lieutenant Cook was serving as a pilot of a carrier-based Navy dive bomber of Bombing Squadron 16 embarked from the U.S.S. Randolph in action against major units of the Japanese fleet in the Tokyo Bay area. Participating in a dive-bombing attack against an enemy battleship at the Yokosuka Naval Base, Cook pressed home his attack and in the face of intense hostile anti-aircraft fire scored a direct hit on the target. He contributed to severe damage on the warship. For this he was awarded a Gold Star in lieu of a second Navy Cross.
Information provided by Richard G. Bridges.