Dusty Lee Cook
Dusty Lee Cook is a native of East Bernard, Texas, and graduated from East Bernard High School in 1999. He attended Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science in 2003. Additionally, he completed his Master of Business Administration (MBA) with honors from Webster University in 2017, became a member of the international honor society, Delta Mu Delta, and a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP) from the Project Management Institute (PMI). Currently, Dusty is supporting Red Hat’s leading technological projects in the North American Public Sector (NAPS) as a Client Manager. You can read more about Red Hat and the “Open Source” way of helping the world innovate at their website here.
After transitioning from 14 years of service with the United States Marine Corps, Dusty also had a brief experience as an Operations Manager at Amazon, helping to launch a new million square foot fulfillment center, BWI4, weeks before 2017 Prime Day.
Though his time with the Corps is over, he gained many experiences. There were challenges, a few failures, and many successes, but the most important and lasting benefit from serving were the friendships gained along the way. He even picked up his co-pilot in life, another Blue Angel pilot, Katie. She’d say she’s in the left seat, Dusty in the right – she’s calling the shots. Regardless of “who’s flying this damn thing”, there are many adventures to come. Here is a brief summary of his military career.
Dusty received his commission through the Officer Candidates Course program and reported to The Basic School at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. He then reported to Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola, Fla., for aviation indoctrination in October 2004. He completed primary flight training in the T-34C Turbo Mentor at NAS Whiting Field, Fla., and transferred to Training Squadron 31 (VT-31) at NAS Corpus Christi, Texas, for intermediate and advanced training where he flew the T-44 Pegasus. He received his wings of gold in April 2006.
Dusty then reported to Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152 (VMGR-152), the “Sumos,” at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Okinawa, Japan, for operations in the KC-130 Hercules, where he served as the Legal Officer, Airframes Officer In Charge, Flight Duty Officer, and Logistics Officer.
Afterwards, Dusty reported to 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines, 2nd Marine Division at Camp Lejeune, N.C., in October 2009, where he served as a Forward Air Controller. During that time, he deployed to Helmand Province, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from late October 2009 to May 2010.
Dusty reported to 2nd Marine Air Wing (MAW) at MCAS Cherry Point, N.C., in July 2010. For his first year, Dusty worked at the KC-130J Aircrew Training Unit, training the newest fleet KC-130J aviators, and on the 2nd MAW Commanding General’s Operations staff as the Aviation Transport Coordination Officer.
In July of the following year, Dusty reported to Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron (VMGR-252), “Otis,” to begin training in the KC-130J Harvest-Hercules Armament Weapons Kit (HAWK). While assigned to VMGR-252, Dusty deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, as well as a deployment to areas around Northern and Eastern Africa in support of contingency operations.
Dusty then joined the Blue Angels, NAS Pensacola, Fla., in September 2013 where he served as the Aviation Safety Officer followed by the Officer in Charge of the C-130, affectionately known as “Fat Albert”. While serving as a Blue Angel, Dusty was able to provide logistical support as well as fly aerial demonstrations that showcased the pride and professionalism of the United States Navy and Marine Corps.
In January 2016, Dusty reported for duty as the Executive Officer and Joint Terminal Attack Controller with 2d Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company (ANGLICO). While at 2d ANGLICO, the unit conducted many deployments to Afghanistan and earned the II Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) “Chesty Puller” award for outstanding performance of a small unit for 2016 and 2017.
In February 2017, Dusty then transferred to II MEF Headquarters Group (MHG) to lead a team of specialty Marines in the field of Information Warfare. The unit is looking forward to testing different capabilities in daily operations and major exercises in the coming year.
During his time in the fleet, Dusty has flown more than 2,200 total flight hours with 900 in combat providing close air support (CAS). He also has multiple ground controls of CAS aircraft in support of friendly units under enemy fire. Additionally, Dusty flew numerous operations and exercises in Afghanistan, Australia, Myanmar, Djibouti, Guam, Hawaii, Indonesia, Italy, Iwo Jima, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, and Wake Island.
His decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, twelve Air Medals, two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, the Combat Action Ribbon, and various personal and unit awards.
For questions, please email DustyLeeCook@Outlook.com