MG Boyd Cook: My Tribute to the Former 29th Infantry Division Commander

I met MG (ret) Boyd Cook when I was a new 1LT in the Maryland Army National Guard, sometime in the late summer or early fall of 2005.  General Cook visited our armory in Hagerstown, MD to educate our unit about the ESGR Program (Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve).  For some reason, Boyd and I got along fairly well and I asked him if he would be able to mentor me a little bit.

29th infantry divisionHe agreed and we met a couple of times before I deployed to Kosovo in July 2006.  He even wrote an endorsement for one of my books that I had just published.  What I remember most about MG Cook was his servant attitude.  He really cared about helping Soldiers and young officers.  He shared his wisdom with you and did what he could to guide you in the right direction and help you solve your own problems.  He was very friendly and very kind.  This was my first type of personal interaction with a General Officer, and to be quite frank, it was wonderful.

General Cook was everything you would want in a leader.  He was confident, intelligent, decisive and good spirited.  I’m sure that’s why he rose through the ranks so quickly!

In case you never met MG Boyd Cook, here are a few things you should know about him.

  1. He served in the Army and ARNG for 42 years, starting out as an enlisted man and ending up as a Major General
  2. He served as the Division Commander of the 29th Infantry Division (Light)
  3. He joined the Delaware Army National Guard in 1948 and was activated for the Korean War
  4. The Ft. Richie, Maryland armory is named in his honor
  5. After retiring from the military he served as the National Commander of the 29th Division Association and he was very active with the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve
  6. By trade, he was a farmer and businessman

Sadly, MG Cook died on February 2, 2008.  Fortunately, his spirit lives on through his wonderful family and with all the people he mentored and led.  I hope one day that I can have the same impact on others that MG Cook had with me.

If you knew Boyd, or ever served with him, I would love to hear your story.  Please leave a comment to do so.   Also, if you have a photo of him in uniform, I would love to add it to this post.  You contact me to do that.

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9 thoughts on “MG Boyd Cook: My Tribute to the Former 29th Infantry Division Commander”

  1. Chuck, he sounds like a great leader. The fact that you referred to him as a servant leader spoke volumes to me. There aren’t too many that I can think of that truly fit that description, especially the higher up in rank they get. I think that things get busier the higher up we move, but there comes a time in our lives where we should look at our opportunities to just spend time talking to Soldiers and helping them out. I remember how much it meant to me to be mentored by higher ranking, it still does, but now I am the same rank as some of my former mentors. It really makes me stop and think.

  2. I never had the honor of knowing General Cook, but your kind words about him have brought him to life for me. Everyone deserves to be mentored by at least one influential leader in their life, and you’re now passing on his example with your books and your blog. Looks like you’re carrying the torch of being compassionate, decisive, and good spirited. Keep up the good work!

  3. How awesome that you had the opportunity to benefit from mentoring by such a distinguished and giving gentleman. General Cook sounds like an excellent example of a true leader. A servant’s attitude is one of the most generous, and I think most beautiful, qualities a person can have. Such a person is quite impactful on a soldier, in ways that become evident as years go by. Employer support was probably a fitting assignment for him.

    1. General Cook was my division commander many years back. I met him twice and was really impressed with him.

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