Wes Cooksey in 1917 prior to training at Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio.
Wes Cooksey outside of this bunker in North Africa, 1943.
John Wesley Cooksey
Wes Cooksey was my wife's grandfather. Our first son is named after him and unfortunately, I never got to meet him because he died of a stroke before my wife and I ever met. However, I am very familiar with his military service since he was an excellent "documenter" with his extremely detailed letters and he took fantastic photographs. He served his country in both World Wars. He was with the 25th Aero Squadron, Second Army Air Service in WWI and served as an aviation logistician in WWII in North Africa. His tribute will take some time to assemble because he left us with much material to sort through.
Prior to WWI, Wes Cooksey was from Brookville, Indiana. He entered the service and served with the 25th Aero Squadron AEF. The 25th was originally formed at Kelly Field, San Antonio in 1917. Apparently, the squadron was in constant turmoil and changed commanding officers every few weeks. They deployed to Scotland on 9 January 1918. Their pilots were farmed out to various British Squadrons and the enlisted men (mechanics, medics, clerks, etc.) were assigned duty with the RAF. On 18 August 1918, the RAF declared the enlisted soldiers to be "highly trained and an exceptionally good bunch of mechanics." Then, they were accepted back into the ranks of the American Second Army and the pilots were recalled from their British squadrons. The Second Army bought them British Scout Experimental No. 5s (S.E. 5s) and training commenced at Issoudun, France. By the time the pilots knew their craft, the war was over. The squadron only flew two patrols and the squadron joke was that they were to receive the highly coveted "Cross de Ocean." However, this lack of action did not stop young Wes Cooksey from finding the war.
(To Be Continued)