Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Update On Submariners In Afghanistan

Last September, I wrote about LT Kenneth Cooke, a submarine officer assigned to a PRT in Afghanistan. His IA tour is finishing up, and it looks like he continued doing the good work that proves the flexibility of submariners -- here's a picture of his awards ceremony:

The accompanying caption states:
CDR Eduardo Fernandez presents LT Kenneth Cooke with the Bronze Star for service while serving as an IA in Afghanistan. Cooke, an N3 officer from Commander Submarine Force, Norfolk, is an engineer for the Provincial Reconstruction Team, Sharana, Paktika Province, Afghanistan, building hospitals, roads, schools, dams and bridges. At one point, the engineering teams Cooke worked with were managing over $70 million worth of reconstruction projects. While deployed, Cooke experienced several direct and indirect fire attacks, as well as several IEDs. He was also awarded the Army Achievement Medal and the Combat Action Ribbon for his service.
(CDR Fernandez was one of my shipmates on USS Topeka on our JO tour.) Thanks to all the submariners on IA assignments -- it's a heck of a way to spend your shore duty!


Blogger LT Nixon said...

I still maintain that being on IA is better than being on a boat. Bear in mind I'm on a staff in Iraq instead of a PRT in A-stan, but at least there's no ORSE, TRE, screaming XO, etc.

3/16/2008 7:59 AM

Anonymous l-t said...


Looks like there's at least one OTHER ex-Boise officer that can get a Bronze Star. And what's this, your FOURTH achievement metal?

Competition like that, I'm GLAD I got out when I did.

-#1 of 14

3/16/2008 6:33 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"While deployed, Cooke experienced several direct and indirect fire attacks, as well as several IEDs. He was also awarded the Army Achievement Medal and the Combat Action Ribbon for his service."

Bronze Star? If the above is an indicator for justification for the award, I call BS. This is typical for O-gang award inflation. The Bronze Star is typically awarded for heroic service, but "may" be awarded for "meritorious" service. Some things never change.

3/16/2008 7:13 PM

Anonymous Fast Nav said...

Ken Cooke did alot for me when he as at N34 at CSL. Good guy, and I'm glad to see he's on his way home safely.

As for the Bronze Star, yeah, it seems to be the popular award for IA Officers. My brother got one, with a similar write up.

But hey, if they're going to give those to submarine CO's for shooting tomahawks, might as well cheapen them up all the way.

3/17/2008 5:37 AM

Anonymous l-t said...

Why, fast nav, SAY IT ISN'T SO!

I almost wrote earlier, "At least one ex-Boise-ite earned it..." then changed my mind.

But if my "Betters" are gonna say it, well...!

Ken, say hi to Wifey, I'm sure she misses you. Oh, and count your many are you supposed to have now?

3/17/2008 9:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

How will Ken's chance for promotion in the submarine community be, or is he likely to be surfaced.

3/17/2008 11:57 AM

Anonymous Fast Nav said...

Point of clarification....

I don't want to demean Ken and his award. I know him and I'm SURE he did an awesome job over there. My hat is definitely off to him, and I'll buy him the first beer whenever I see him again.

I'm just saying that, now that I'm over at an Army Command, I see how frequent Bronze Stars and CAR's are awarded. As the Cavalry Major I was talking to said, "Yeah, Bronze stars are pretty common. With the Combat V is another story, but the star and the CAR are getting pretty common."

3/17/2008 8:14 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you ever been hit by an IED and VBIED suicide attack?

Have you ever rolled outside the wire everyday ... in a very dangerous province ... trying to LEAD a team to bring freedom to millions of people?

The "bronze star" was created in world war ii for leadership in a combat zone when under "significant risk of hostile action."

Only the "V" is for heroic service.

We give bronze stars to CO's who shoot tomahawks.

Trust ne - LT Cooke is very deserving.

You plant your butt in Afghanistan at a PRT that rolls outside the wire everyday - then you can talk.

I awarded 23 Bronze Stars to every E-6 and above who was leading under fire.

YOU all have this wrong.

Former PRT Commander

3/18/2008 12:16 AM

Anonymous l-t said...


I think you misunderstand us. Fast Nav and I dodged flying RPMs and bipolar disorder alongside Ken for several years, and know that wherever he goes, he makes an impression. Whether that's with the unbelievable immensity of his melon or the fact that he becomes the technical expert on anything he puts his hands on, it doesn't matter. He deserves the star, and earned the CAR many times over. Whether it's the norm for sub JOs in the sand or not, he still rates it (the guy VOLUNTEERED to leave his wife for deployment instead of staying with his boat during 1400 liberty calls in DMP, for crying out loud).

Rereading the thread, maybe anon #2 was referring to anon #1 when saying that "YOU all have this wrong," but regardless, I think he deserves it.

And a beer too. Or fourteen.

3/18/2008 10:09 AM

Anonymous Fast Nav said...

l-t's got it spot on. Ken's the man. end of story.

regarding the Bronze Star requirements....

"awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity in or with the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, or Coast Guard of the United States, after December 6, 1941, distinguishes, or has distinguished, himself by heroic or meritorious achievement or service, not involving participation in aerial flight--
(a) while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States;
(b) while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or
(c) while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party."

That definitely sounds like you need to have gone above and beyond the normal expectations to be awarded it. Not just being the guy in charge when the shit hits the fan.

I know Ken earned his... I'm just hoping everyone who gets one has. I'd hate for people to look on these things like we look at NAM's (Hey, you made awesome cookies for the ORSE board when we got an excellent, have a NAM!)

3/18/2008 4:41 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who gets a NAM for making cookies? Are you serious? Those have gotta be some damn good cookies!

3/18/2008 5:03 PM

Anonymous Fast Nav said...

dude. they were awesome.

3/18/2008 9:19 PM

Blogger Chap said...

Yeah, I am not happy with the common "thing" these days to diss winners of the Bronze Star.

The thing's like an air medal--it was created that way--in that it's got either the "valor" designation, or the "merit" designation. A meritorious job for the right combination of situation and guy results in a Bronze Star, and most of the guys complaining about it think that the bronze is like the silver or something similar.

As a for-instance, many Army guys in WWII were awarded Bronze Stars because they had earned the combat insignia. Poof, instant Bronze Star. Others got awarded same for staff work in the war. It's pretty much the same criteria now as it was when the medal was invented.

It's a standard; hold to the standard or change the standard. But this disrespect of honorable people awarded medals for a job well done does not exactly help.

3/18/2008 11:03 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd bet he earned the bronze star and the CAR.

I've been on "navy together we served" site and there are tons of NAM's given out now with many many NCM for all ratings and ranks. Much more than in the eighties.

3/22/2008 11:44 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fernadez is my old xo from the jackson

3/27/2008 2:25 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fernandez was my old NAV from Portsmouth. Decent guy, but a bit of a screw up. We loved to watch the Captain chew his ass out in control.

8/26/2010 10:28 AM

Anonymous Leah said...

This cannot work in fact, that is what I consider.

9/04/2012 1:55 AM


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