Pat Cook grew up in a military family. His father was an Infantryman and a Military Policeman who served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. His older brother served in Vietnam after completing Air Force ROTC, and another brother attended the United States Military Academy, graduating in 1985 as an Air Defense Officer. Pat attended the University of Kansas and participated in the ROTC program, commissioning in 1990 as an Infantry Officer. He joined 7-6 Infantry in Germany in the fall of 1990. When Desert Storm began, he deployed to Saudi Arabia and was assigned to a tank unit in 7-6 Infantry in the 1st Infantry Division. Redeploying from the desert, he was first in 2-6 Infantry, before it reflagged to 1-30th Infantry, in 3rd Infantry Division. Eventually, he ended up in the 586th Maintenance Company. Taking his father’s advice, he switched to the Military Police Corps and was assigned to command the Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth. Next, he became the Executive Officer of the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) at Fort Riley, Kansas. Switching to the Army Reserves, he was assigned to the University of Richmond as an Assistant Professor of Military Science. In 2007, he was activated and deployed to Bagram, Afghanistan, where he ran the Internment Facility. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in 2008, and ran the Advanced Operations and Warfighting Course (AWOC) until 2010. He retired from the military in 2011, and transitioned into working with distance instruction for ILE (Intermediate Level Education).
In this interview, he describes his childhood, growing up military, and his appreciation of the camaraderie and structure of his ROTC program. He talks about his deployment in support of Desert Storm and the Army drawdown after the conclusion of the war. He discusses his service as the Commander of the Disciplinary Barracks, a riot he experienced, and his transition to becoming an Active Guard and Reserve Officer. He traces his route to Bagram and the Internment Facility, highlighting some of his efforts at keeping the detainees contented, including instituting a cultural meal on Friday that served detainees their traditional fare. Finally, he comments on his role in the institutional education programs in the Army, and what his service means to him.