CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan (12/24/2012) — A few things have
survived the passage of time from World War II until now. Cpl.
Stephen Cook, a legal services specialist with Regimental Combat
Team 7, has a “Soldier's Prayer” book his family carried in battle
December 24, 2012 - Corporal Stephen Cook, a legal services
specialist with Regimental Combat Team 7, is following his
grandfather's footsteps as a Marine and is currently serving in
Helmand province, Afghanistan. Photo by USMC Cpl. Kowshon Ye
In fact, that book has been passed throughout his family and has
now been to nearly every major U.S. war since WWII. Now, Cook
carries the book in the pocket of his uniform in Afghanistan.
Patriotism flows throughout Cook's family, as many family
members have served in all branches of the military. There are
special notes in the book from his family members who served in
Korea after his great-grandfather, Percy Werttemberger, passed it
down after WWII.
The book was then given to John
Werttemberger, Cook's grandfather, who carried it as a Marine in
Vietnam. Cook was inspired to be like his grandfather.
“My grandfather had a lot of influence on me, and he was a
Marine,” said Cook, a 21-year-old native of Walla Walla, Wash. “He
was somebody I looked up to, and when I wanted to join a force, I
joined the Marine Corps.”
Cook is proud to call himself a
Marine like his grandfather, and with the title came more goals.
Cook would like to become a warrant officer in the future.
“This is a great opportunity for me to learn the
investigations side of my job,” Cook said. “To be a warrant
officer, I will need to know all the different parts of this
(Marine Occupational Specialty).”
serves in a job position typically held by more senior
Marines, which will help in his goal of becoming a warrant
“He is definitely growing and doing
a great job,” said Capt. Mark Blackborow, the deputy
regimental judge advocate with RCT-7. “This is a (staff
noncommissioned officer) billet, so to be doing it as well
as he is doing it as a corporal is huge.
Cook is more
than just good at his job, he is also good at being a
Marine, said Blackborow.
“He is always locked on and
knows his customs and courtesies,” said Blackborow, a
29-year-old native of East Brunswick, N.J. “He is the whole
Marine concept. He embodies that.”
When not working,
Cook said he spends his time chatting with his wife via
webcam or working on Marine Corps Institute classes. He also
plans to begin reading books off the Commandant's
recommended reading list.
Cook's family is supportive
of his choice to join the Marines and they even setup a
Facebook account to support him while deployed. But for
Cook, the tradition of the family prayer book is his
“I wanted to carry on the family legacy,”
Cook said. “It's an honor to do so.
“If there is a
servicemember in the next generation of my family, it will
be passed down to them.”
By USMC Sgt. Ned Johnson
Comment on this article