HomeNewsFeaturesDisplay

Committed to helping others: NCO serves base, community

Staff Sgt. Jack McCoy (Left), 6th Air Refueling Squadron, chats with Tech. Sgt. Kenneth Cook (Right), 6th ARS, inside a KC-10 Extender prior to loading operations at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., June 17, 2017. Cook oversaw the loading of more than 15,000 pounds of cargo prior to a flight to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

Staff Sgt. Jack McCoy (Left), 660th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, chats with Tech. Sgt. Kenneth Cook (Right), 6th Air Refueling Squadron, inside a KC-10 Extender prior to loading operations at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., June 17, 2017. Cook oversaw the loading of more than 15,000 pounds of cargo prior to a flight to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

Tech. Sgt. Kenneth Cook (Left), 6th Air Refueling Squadron, shares a laugh with Staff Sgt. Jack McCoy, 660th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, inside a KC-10 Extender prior to loading operations at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., June 17, 2017. Cook oversaw the loading of more than 15,000 pounds of cargo prior to a flight to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

Tech. Sgt. Kenneth Cook (Left), 6th Air Refueling Squadron, shares a laugh with Staff Sgt. Jack McCoy, 660th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, inside a KC-10 Extender prior to loading operations at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., June 17, 2017. Cook oversaw the loading of more than 15,000 pounds of cargo prior to a flight to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

Airman 1st Class Neesen Bristow (Left), 6th Air Refueling Squadron, listens to Tech. Sgt. Kenneth Cook (Right), 6th ARS, provide instruction on KC-10 Extender loading operations at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., June 17, 2017. Cook oversaw the loading of more than 15,000 pounds of cargo prior to a flight to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

Airman 1st Class Neesen Bristow (Left), 6th Air Refueling Squadron, listens to Tech. Sgt. Kenneth Cook (Right), 6th ARS, provide instruction on KC-10 Extender loading operations at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., June 17, 2017. Cook oversaw the loading of more than 15,000 pounds of cargo prior to a flight to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

Tech. Sgt. Kenneth Cook, 6th Air Refueling Squadron, poses for a photo inside a KC-10 Extender at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., June 17, 2017, prior to the start of loading operations. Cook oversaw the loading of the more than 15,000 pounds of cargo prior to a flight to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

Tech. Sgt. Kenneth Cook, 6th Air Refueling Squadron, poses for a photo inside a KC-10 Extender at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., June 17, 2017, prior to the start of loading operations. Cook oversaw the loading of the more than 15,000 pounds of cargo prior to a flight to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – He is a husband, father and an Airman with more than a decade of military service. His office is often the friendly confines of a KC-10 Extender, flying thousands of feet above Earth.

He is Tech. Sgt. Kenneth Cook, 6th Air Refueling Squadron boom operator instructor. He is responsible for ensuring 42 Airmen are fully qualified and mission ready.

“I train our new boom operators on refueling operations, ensuring they’re capable of refueling U.S. and NATO aircraft and proficient with loading cargo,” said Cook, a native of Orlando, Florida. “I also ensure boom operators who are fully qualified maintain their qualifications so we can complete our mission successfully.”

Cook joined the Air Force in September 2006 and served six years in the security forces career field where he deployed three times in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. He was also one of four Airmen selected to teach urban warfare and combat skills to members of the Kuwaiti military, and served as a .50-caliber gunner on convoy security teams working with the U.S. Army in Shindand, Afghanistan.

All of those deployments were stressful, especially those moments where Cook provided security for a total of 119 combat patrols, he said.

“There were only four Airmen on the convoy team representing our service and we wanted to do well,” said Cook. “We were responsible for everyone in the convoy and snipers would often target heavy gunners. We patrolled a 50-mile radius. Our mission was to build relations with the Afghan people while providing a show of force when needed.”

In 2013, Cook was approved to retrain into the in-flight refueler career field. After completing the Basic Boom Operators Fundamentals Course at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, followed by the Survive, Evade, Resist and Escape course, he arrived at Travis Air Force Base, California, in April 2014.

He deployed for the first time as a boom operator four months later in support of OEF and Operation Inherent Resolve. During that deployment, he flew 20 combat missions over Iraq and Afghanistan and refueled 108 aircraft. His efforts enabled 12 strikes against anti-coalition forces.  

Cook returned from his most recent deployment in March, where he reached a significant milestone; 101 combat missions and earned his fifth air medal.

“I feel like I’m part of an elite group after completing 100 combat missions in the air,” said Cook. “I have over 100 convoys, over 100 combat missions in the air…now I just have to do something in space.”

Master Sgt. Lucero Stockett, 6th ARS boom operator superintendent, said Cook is a role model for his peers.

“Sergeant Cook is beyond the model Airman,” he said. “He leads by example and is an extremely talented instructor. Within the squadron, he makes sure his Airmen are always taken care of and epitomizes the role of a non-commissioned officer.”

“He has vision and passion for what it takes to make the perfect Airman,” said Stockett. “Without Cook, the 6th ARS would not be where it currently is. He contributes a lot to the 6th ARS family and to the Air Force.”

Taking care of Airmen is important, said Cook. So important, he volunteered to become a Master Resiliency Training instructor in July 2016 to help Airmen get through difficult times.

“I wanted to have the opportunity to affect the base,” said Cook. “I know people have gone through things worse than I did. Many had to persevere through struggles growing up and may not understand how to deal with that today. Many people have been through struggles in life and may feel like the whole world is collapsing on them. I wanted to give people an outlet and show them how to deal with those difficult situations.”

To date, Cook has led 20 MRT classes and taught more than 400 Airmen resiliency skills. In each class he shares what it was like growing up with a single mother in a poor neighborhood.

“We lived in a tough neighborhood and my mother worked three jobs to support us,” said Cook. “She did everything she could for us. She would take us to the dollar store and get us something small, just so we could have some hope.”

Eventually, Cook started stealing to help his family.

“I know what it’s like to have nothing, to not have Christmas presents or have food on Thanksgiving,” he said. “I wasn’t stealing because I was a bad person. I wanted to take all the stress off of my mother. I felt like, if she didn’t have to spend money on me, I’d be OK. I would steal clothes so she wouldn’t have to buy me school clothes and I was always fighting.”

Cook was arrested multiple times between the ages of 13 and 17 for a variety of assault-related incidents. After he was arrested for an assault in the summer of 2005 while trying to protect his sisters, a former Marine working in the Orange County Jail encouraged him to change his life and consider serving in the U.S. military.

“He told me, ‘To be a man you don’t have to try and be bad,’” said Cook. “He said, ‘Being a man is about protecting your family and honoring your mother. Don’t be a stereotype.’”

Cook heeded those words and is now a veteran of 11 years of Air Force service, the proud father of a one-year-old boy and will soon celebrate his eighth anniversary with his wife, Tech. Sgt. Asia Cook, 60th Maintenance Group NCO-in-charge of C-17 Globemaster III maintenance training.

Today, he uses his experiences to help others, including the homeless. He recently coordinated a quarterly volunteer event with Mission Solano, an organization dedicated to providing shelters and services for homeless people in Solano County. Every three months Cook and dozens of Airmen from the 6th ARS volunteer at a Mission Solano shelter in a variety of capacities including assembling beds, sorting clothing, serving food and cleaning the grounds.

“There are kids out there in homeless shelters who need good role models,” said Cook. “One of those kids could grow up to be a pilot, a sensor operator or be the person who changes the Air Force for the better 15 years down the line.”

“If I can change one person’s life and give them a gift or feed them, I feel complete, I feel like I’m receiving my blessing,” he said. “Life’s about what you put into it. I want to do my part so when I do leave this Earth, my son, he’ll be proud of me and hopefully I have a positive impact on my Airmen in the process.”

According to Lt. Col. Justin Longmire, 6th ARS commander, Cook has had a significant impact on many Airmen.

“He has had a bigger impact on my unit's climate and culture than any other Airman,” said Longmire. “A year ago, we were looking for a unit charity to partner with. An organization that could benefit from a lot of strong and capable Airmen doing lots of work for them on a regular basis and at the same time, provide some perspective and mentorship opportunities to our members.”

“Cook personally reviewed dozens of charities before recommending Mission Solano,” said Longmire. “At least once every quarter, he coordinates a unit visit to Mission Solano where we serve meals, organize their thrift shop, assemble furniture, clean a mobile kitchen, pick up the grounds, and do any other manual labor they ask of us.  He mentors a different set of NCOs every time. He's single-handedly leading the way with resiliency, mentoring, community relations and community service in the unit, which is absolutely amazing.”

Cook was nominated for the 2017 Spirit of Hope Award and the 2017 Blacks in Government Meritorious Service Award for his efforts serving the community.

He said his passion for helping people is endless and he has some advice for America’s Airmen.

“Don’t judge a book by its cover,” he said. “I wasn’t a good person growing up, but you can turn that around, especially if you have mentors and supervisors that care about you. We’re all human. We all make mistakes. How you bounce back from those mistakes defines who you are.” 

 

Social Media

Facebook Twitter
The Shooting Stars Drones will launch again at around 10:20 p.m. and we will do another live video stream at that time. Thank you for your patience.
#TeamTravis, As we get closer to tonight’s festivities, what part of the celebration are you most looking forward to? In addition, we’ll also be hosting a bounce house, a beer and wine truck, a hotdog and burger food truck, and an on-site DJ. We will also be allowing families to bring in their own food and water as long as the water is in a clear container. Hope to see you all out there!
#DidYouKnow the United States Air Force has a new Airman Against Drunk Driving app available on the App Store and Google Play? Just another way the U.S. Air Force is committed to #NeverDUI
**Edited for clarification*** #TeamTravis, As weather updates continue to come in, the Intel® Shooting Star Drone Light Show show portion may not happen. As of now, the show is still happening, but we're monitoring tomorrow's weather on a minute-to-minute basis and will continue to update you all as we get closer to the event. No matter what, festivities are a go! Airmen and the public are still invited to celebrate with bouncy houses, food trucks, a DJ, and a rock climbing wall! Below are maps to the parking areas and entrance for the event as well as the event location.
Due to forecasted high winds, the scheduled July 3 rehearsal, which was open to DoD ID Cardholders, has been canceled. Please stay tuned for more updates as we monitor the weather for the 4th of July event.
#Repost Visit Fairfield, California -- "There are no active fires near Travis AFB or Solano County. . . . Good morning friends! Solano County photographer James Guzzo was up early for the sunrise and captured these images from our hills. The smoke cloud you can see is from a fire burning in Yolo County. There are no active fires near Fairfield and Solano County. #VisitFairfieldCA"
To all of #TeamTravis and our local community, please be safe! For continued updates, please sign up with alertsolano.com to get them sent straight to your device.
"Anything that is an extension of, what I call, America's power, promise, or ideals, is done through logistics and transportation." --USAF Gen. Darren W. McDew, U.S. Transportation Command commander. Travis #Airmen deliver on that promise...anytime, anywhere. And we're proud it. #NoBounds | #TeamTravis
🎶This is ground control to Major Tom...🎶 Always on the cutting edge, #TeamTravis has recently entered into talks with NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration to establish a research collaboration leading to advances in medical support for deep space missions as well as warfighters. Read more about Travis' potential role in the future of space exploration in the article below. United States Air Force | U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) | Airman Magazine | Air Force Times | AFMS - David Grant USAF Medical Center - 60th Medical Group, Travis AFB | U.S. Military | #NoBounds
Congratulations SMSgt Lucero Stockett, 6th ARS, for being named one of the 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year for 2018! It is a honor to call you a member of #TeamTravis!
This 4th of July, #TeamTravis is partnering with Intel to put on a #patriotic light show with the help of more than 500 individual drones. Check out the video below and visit our event page, Travis AFB 4th of July ft. Intel® Shooting Star Drone Light Show, for a taste of what's to come during next week's jaw-dropping spectacle. United States Air Force | U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) | Airman Magazine | United States | Air Force Times | Military.com | #FourthofJuly ***The DoD does not endorse Intel***
Team Travis Defenders teamed up with #SpecialOlympics athletes to run through Travis AFB and Vacaville, California last week for the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run.
A KC-10 crew recetly completed a mission in the pacific refueling fighters supporting Exercise RED FLAG-Alaska and strengthening relationships between the USAF and the Japan Air Self Defense Force. To learn more click on the photos below. #NoBounds | #EngagingGlobally | #GotFuel
Not only is 2018 the 75th anniversary of Travis but also the 9th Air Refueling Squadrons #75thAnniversary. The diverse history of the 9th ARS includes operating in the China-Burma-India Theater of Operations, flying the F-4U Corsair as well as the P-38 Lightning. Click on one of the photos below to see what it means to wear the 9th ARS patch. #GucciPride | #Universal | #Travis75th
This week we salute SrA Steven Fing for being named the #TeamTravis Warrior of the Week. Fing is a Nondestructive Inspection Technician in the 60th MXS. His leadership skills as a shift leader enabled 22 maintenance acts ensuring 620 sorties. #WoW | #Maintenance
#TeamTravis is kind of a big deal in Fairfield, California! On Tuesday during a city council meeting, leadership received a proclamation from the city in honor of celebrating the 75th anniversary of the base. #Servinglocally | #Travis75th
During a recent KC-10 Extender mission, two flying crew chiefs kept the aircraft serviced enabling it to complete a roundtrip journey of more than 9,000 nautical miles and offloaded more than 200,000 pounds of fuel to eight F-15s. #FueltheFight | #RapidGlobalMobility | #NoBounds
The rumors are true! #TeamTravis is celebrating #IndependenceDay with a special light show featuring the Intel Shooting Star Drones. We are opening our gates to the community for this event. Stay tuned for more information! #NoBounds | #PoweredbySpark | #75thAnniversary | AFWERX | Air Mobility Command | Heather Wilson
Gen. Paul J. Selva, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is no stranger to Travis. He has commanded a squadron and a group here in the past. Last Friday #TeamTravis was honored for him to return to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Travis and the 9th ARS. #Travis75th | #NoBounds Check out more images here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmnD5ga6
#PhoenixSpark, Travis's grassroots innovation program is kindling connections and spreading ideas on their new LinkedIn page! Airmen, community members, and business leaders alike, join the conversation as we deliver tomorrow's tools to the Warfighter today! #PoweredBySpark https://www.linkedin.com/company/travis-afb-phoenix-spark/
A legend in the wild blue yonder, Tech Sgt. Manny Tarango aka Coach T has been busy changing the gridiron mentorshi… https://t.co/xHgC8bhmjv
DGMC begins flu vaccine campaign https://t.co/UGDqNzURJi
RT @AirMobilityCmd: AMC's #WingspanOfHope continues to deliver critical resources & dedicated personnel during the #HurricaneMichael respon…
#TeamTravis, The 2018 Great California Shakeout earthquake drill is upon us! The base will be participating Thursd… https://t.co/H0RAaoWfKI
RT @60MDG_DGMC: Resilient Kids, ready #Airmen. One thing Airmen worry about after deployment is the well-being of their family, especially…
He is here to pump you up! Check out how this @usairforce master sergeant and current Mr. USA is inspiring his squa… https://t.co/PhO61v8JPL
When it comes to getting a community back on its feet, sometimes it takes a whole village to do it. @TeamTyndall's… https://t.co/g4W0854kE6
#TeamTravis is on the ground in Florida, helping to open @TeamTyndall and bring #relief to the region in the wake o… https://t.co/cEGnT9y9tO
RT @SecAFOfficial: Please share this video from @ACC_Commander and help us get the word out. We will continue to share information as we ge…
RT @usairforce: For updates on our #HurricaneMichael relief efforts, follow our Twitter Moment. ⚡️ “United States Air Force emergency respo…
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: Thank you, @ACC_Commander & leaders across the force, for your continued efforts to connect #Airmen & families affecte…
Team Travis poised to deliver after Hurricane Michael https://t.co/AZcL2xAn0X
#TeamTravis aircraft and Airmen will depart early morning tomorrow to assist in reopening the airfield at Tyndall A… https://t.co/m7KeZ6Fm3j
#C17GlobemasterIII has departed to support civil authorities in #HurricaneMichael relief efforts in Meridian, Missi… https://t.co/bPJ4RS9LqP
Check out how @AirMobilityCmd is giving us all a reason to run off this year's turkey in the article below.… https://t.co/emdcEKwLgl
RT @DeptofDefense: The #DOD is committed to remaining the world’s preeminent fighting force, pursuing global security and stability, modern…
RT @abc7newsbayarea: Brush fire near Vacaville that caused highway closures grows to 4,000 acres. #BranscombeFire https://t.co/FMIzqA8jh8
RT @CAL_FIRE: CAL FIRE is assisting @SolanoFire with a 4,000 acre fire off of Branscombe Road, south of Hwy 12, Suisun City (Solano County…
This article highlights our abilities to enhance the mission through strategic partnerships. #TeamTravishttps://t.co/3HYVV5X6Pi