REAR ADMIRAL RALPH E. COOK
UNITED STATES NAVY, RETIRED
Last “Director Naval Security Group” first “Commander, Naval Security Group”
Ralph E. Cook was born in Butte, Montana, on 8 December 1915. In 1934 he entered Montana State College at Bozeman, from which he received the degree of Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering in 1938.
In 1939 he was employed by the International Business Machines Corporation. He attended IBM School in Endicott, New York and later transferred to the Butte office, where he was working when called to active naval service.
He enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve in June 1934 and was attached to Naval Communication Reserve Unit ONE, Section FOUR, Thirteenth Naval District. On January 21, 1941, he received his commission as Ensign, U.S. Naval Reserve. He subsequently advanced in rank, attaining that of Rear Admiral, to date from 1 February 1968, having transferred from the Naval Reserve to the Regular Navy on 7 August 1946. Reporting for active naval service in April 1941 and in July was assigned as Communication Watch Officer in the Communications Office at the Navy Yard, Cavite, Philippine Islands. He was present at Cavite during the Japanese attack on 9 December 1941. Transferred with other communication personnel to Corregidor, he assisted in manning emergency communications until April 1942, when he was evacuated from Corregidor to Australia on the last submarine out before the island fell to Japanese forced.
From May 1942 to October 1945 he was attached to the Fleet Radio Unit, Melbourne, Australia. He next served at the Naval Security Station, Washington, D.C., and in December 1949 transferred to the Armed Forces Security Agency, Washington, where he remained until April 1951. He was assigned duty as technical liaison in the Office of the U.S. Naval Attaché, London, England, until October 1952. He was Officer in Charge of the Navy Radio Station (R), Charleston, South Carolina, until April 1954, and then reported as Military Personnel Officer at the National Security Agency, Washington, D.C. In that capacity he handled procurement and assignment of Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps officer and enlisted personnel. In May 1957 he was assigned as Executive Officer of the Naval Security Group Activity, Karamurse1, Turkey. In December 1960, he assumed the position as Head of the Communications Security Operations Department, Naval Security Group Headquarters.
He became Deputy Director, Naval Security Group on 23 May 1963. On 23 August 1963, he became Deputy Director Naval Communications/Director, Naval Security Group. On 1 July 1968 he became Deputy for Cryptology, Office of Assistant Chief of Naval Operations (Communications)/Commander, Naval Security Group Command. On 16 November 1968, the title “Deputy for Cryptology” was changed to “Executive Assistant for Cryptology.” On 15 March 1971, the title “Executive Assistant for Cryptology was changed to “Director, Signal Exploitation and Security” (OP-944). Later in 1971 Rear Admiral Cook was assigned as “Chief, National Security Agency/Central Security Service, Pacific” in Hawaii. The Cooks made Hawaii their permanent home after the Admiral retired in 1974.
In addition to the Letter of Commendation awarded by the Australian Royal Navy, the Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon and the Army Distinguished Unit Badge with Oak Leaf Cluster, Rear Admiral Cook has the Naval Reserve Medal; American Defense Service Medal with star; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with star; World War II Victory Medal; National Defense Service Medal with star; the Philippine Defense Ribbon with star, and the Legion of Merit.
He married the former Valda L. Thompson of Melbourne, Australia. She passed away in 1975. In November 1979 he married the former Clara G. Kavegga, originally from Hungary. Rear Admiral Cook died on August 27, 2010 in Honolulu Hi at the age of 94.
Source: NCVA/Echoes of our Past