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WWI Hero H. Weir Cook '16 Added to 'Hoosier Heritage Portrait Collection'

February 13, 2007

Harvey Weir Cook 16.jpgFebruary 13, 2007, Greencastle, Ind. - A portrait of Harvey Weir Cook, World War I hero and member of DePauw University's Class of 1916, is "the newest addition to the Hoosier Heritage Portrait Collection that adorns the south wall of the governor's office." The announcement from the office of Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels notes that the state's chief executive "was joined by members of the Cook family and representatives from aviation and veterans organizations" as the move was announced.

"I'll look forward to telling visitors about this outstanding figure in Indiana history, one of the genuine pioneers of aviation and Indiana's first flying ace in World War I," said Daniels. "He was friends with people like Amelia Earhart, Charles Lindberg, Orville Wright and Eddie Rickenbacker, and he was every bit the legend that any of them was."

The portrait is on loan from the Indianapolis Airport Authority and Military Officers Association of Indiana. It joins other portraits of historically important Indiana residents in a rotating exhibit that is updated periodically. Prior to Governor Daniels' decision to create the portrait collection in January 2006, only images of former governors were displayed in the office.

H. Weir Cook was a pioneer in bringing Indianapolis its first principal airport. The Indianapolis International Airport was known as the Weir Cook Airport (seen at right in a Weir Cook Postcard.jpgvintage postcard) from 1944 to 1976. Cook was a noted flying ace and captain during World War I, credited with downing seven enemy planes. He later returned to military service as lieutenant colonel in World War II and was killed while flying a Curtiss P-39 over New Caledonia. A memorial in his honor remains on display at the Indianapolis International Airport.

Read more, and access audio of the ceremony, by clicking here. Another story can be found at the Web site of Indianapolis NBC affiliate WTHR.

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