East Texas Veterans searching for owner of lost military storage chest

Published: Sep. 1, 2016 at 10:24 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 1, 2016 at 10:31 PM CDT
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Possible Picture of Robert Cook (Source KLTV News Staff)
Possible Picture of Robert Cook (Source KLTV News Staff)

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - A military organization in one East Texas city is trying to find the veteran behind a lost storage chest.
Medals, letters, photos and even an army uniform were found in a storage unit in Quitman.

The items were then passed on to The Marine Corps League of Mineola. Kelly Smith with the Marine Corps League gave us a look at the items that offer a glimpse into the veteran's past.

"Of course this is the first time I've looked through it, so there's no telling what's in here," says Smith.

Piece by piece, Kelly Smith and I began to uncover what was in this storage chest. Among the items was a group picture that Smith found.

"That might be helpful in trying to find... Fort Jackson South Carolina, and that's August 12 of 1988," says Smith.

As we dug deeper, we realized that we had probably found the owner.

"Look at all the medals he's received," says Smith.

We believe the owner to be a Sergeant Robert Cook Jr., and a face that kept popping up in every picture we found.

"This is date entered, active duty this period, one, twenty seven, ninety eight, (January, 27, 1998)," says Smith.

These records tell the story of a man who served in different time periods and campaigns. Kelly Smith then found a letter from a family member.

"Robbie, please accept this little memento or souvenir of your participation of the successful in Kuwait with Iraq," says Smith.

"I don't think it'd be fair to him to let these things go by the way side," says Smith.

The problem now was trying to find him.

"Somehow these things ended up in Wood County," says Smith.

A check with Triple G Mini Storage, the storage unit business in Quitman where the chest was found, yielded, no luck. A search of a previous address, didn't help either.

"Hopefully [I'll] get to meet him sometime and find out the story why he lost a lot of these items," says Smith.

With no location in Texas that we knew of yet, we were left staring at a medal from Kosovo, and pictures from what looks like a far away land.

"That's a lot of service, that's not just a tour. That's a lifetime to some," says Smith.

It's a lifetime reflected in a note of the fear he felt and his role in Desert Storm.

Part of the note reads as follows:

 "I know beyond a doubt my life has changed, because of events and feelings I've tried to relay. These memories and emotions I can see, touch, taste and hear in my mind's eye, but can never be fully described to anyone"

While we weren't able to find out a Texas location, we did find out that Robert Cook may also have ties to Virginia and Connecticut.

If you have a tip on where Robert Cook is click here: Help find the owner of the military storage chest

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