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Seniors Honored For Military Service In Oceanside For Veterans Day

Jeanne Visser from Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care honors U.S. Navy veteran Robert Cook at Brookdale senior living in Oceanside, Nov. 11, 2018.
Matt Hoffman/KPBS
Jeanne Visser from Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care honors U.S. Navy veteran Robert Cook at Brookdale senior living in Oceanside, Nov. 11, 2018.

Thirty veterans from Brookdale senior living in Oceanside were given commemorative pins and awards for Veterans Day.

In addition to 30 veterans, 20 wives of former service members were honored during a ceremony on Friday in Oceanside.

Among those recognized was World War II U.S. Navy veteran Robert Cook.

"I made 13 trips across the North Atlantic during World War II," Cook said. "Was all over Africa, Mediterranean, Persian Gulf, England."

Cook stayed in the service until 1968, and still wears his uniform proudly. He joined the Navy after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

"My brother-in-law came from boot camp and God, I liked that uniform. You know he looked good," Cook said. "So I told my mother I wanted to go into the Navy and she was happier than heck to sign me up at 17 (years old)."

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Cook and his neighbors were each honored for their service during a short ceremony followed by cake.

"I think I’ve played in every war that the United States — in my acting career," said former actor Edward Faulkner.

Before Faulkner was making movies with John Wayne and Elvis Presley, he was a fighter pilot.

"I thought I was going to be a supply officer somewhere, but they said they were running out of pilots," Presley said. "So I applied and qualified and became a single-engine jet fighter pilot ... It’s my privilege to become a veteran — to have served in the United States military. I love this country very much."

Faulkner said he and other veterans often talk about how realistic his old war movies were. World War II veteran Cook still has vivid memories of the food served on board naval ships.

"Chip beef on toast that was delicious," Cook said. "And spam — I loved spam, but we got good food sometimes. But like three days out we’d run out of milk ... And then we had weevils in our corn flakes so we’d fill up the bowl with milk and the weevils would come to the top then you’d eat."

Cook and two other service members had a plan to get a free meal on Veterans Day.

"I still have my car here — I still drive," Cook said. He was planning on taking his two friends out over the weekend. "They want to go to Hooters for lunch on Sunday because their giving away a free chicken," Cook said laughing.

Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care put on the Veterans Day celebration at the Brookdale in Oceanside.

Seniors Honored For Military Service In Oceanside For Veterans Day
Seniors Honored For Military Service In Oceanside For Veterans Day
Thirty veterans from Brookdale senior living in Oceanside were given commemorative pins and awards for Veterans Day.