ROCHELLE, Ill. — A 95-year-old veteran recreated his war experience - without the fear and conflict - by taking a plunge high above in a far west suburb.
Joe Cook strapped up and jumped out of a perfectly good airplane in Rochelle to recreate his experience almost 75 years ago.
In October of 1944, Cook was on his 16th mission in a B-24 bomber when his plane was shot down. Six of the 10 crewmen parachuted out safely. Cook and the other five spent seven months in a German prisoner-of-war camp until the war was over.
At 13,000 feet, Cook and his tandem instructor jumped from an airplane. This time, there was no fear of bombs or bullets -- just the thrill of the dive.
This was a three generation jump. Cook's daughter, Marian, and grandson, Joe, took the plunge as well.
Cook returned from the war and got his doctorate in mathematical physics through the GI Bill. He worked at Argonne National Laboratory for 40 years.
Cook said he plans to jump again in honor of the four crewmen who did not make it safely out of the B-24.