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Pfc. Hood E. Cole

Obituaries - 01/04/2024 2550 3 Tributes
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Pfc. Hood E. Cole

ALERT!

The formal funeral procession for WWII American Hero Home at Last Pfc Hood E. Cole will leave Georgia Funeral Care, Acworth, GA enroute to Georgia National Cemetery, on Monday, January 15, 2023 at 8:30 AM.  The procession will start from the funeral home, then go left on Cowan Rd and continue onto Hwy 92 E to Woodstock.  The procession will then go North on I-575 to exit 16, then left on Hwy 20 to the cemetery.

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American Hero Home at Last - Pfc. Hood E. Cole  This is the story about a young man, Hood E. Cole, who was a Private First Class (PFC) in the U. S. Army, World War II. 

Hood E. Cole, known by his family as “Hoodie”, was born in Atlanta, Georgia on October 3, 1925. Hood enlisted in the U. S. Army, Ft. McPherson Army Base, Atlanta, Georgia on January 15, 1944, and was killed on January 14, 1945, in the “Battle of the Bulge” near Baerenthal, France, one day before his one-year anniversary of enlistment. PFC Cole’s body was not recovered due to heavy fighting and troop movement and was considered missing until 1951, when it was declared unrecoverable. However, now, 80 years after he enlisted, PFC Hood Cole will be buried on January 15, 2024, at 10 a.m. in the Georgia National Cemetery, Canton, Georgia, with Military Honors. 

Georgia Funeral Care, in Acworth, Georgia, is honored to have been selected to serve this family while honoring the memory of a national treasure - PFC Hood E. Cole. Georgia Funeral Care will lead the procession of family members to Georgia National Cemetery in Canton, leaving at 8 a.m. from Acworth. Anyone interested in participating and honoring this American hero is invited to join the procession or meet at the cemetery. 

This story is one shared by many families of World War II veterans and we would like to let you know a little more about this American Hero, Hood E. Cole. Hood was the son of Hood C. Cole and Vera M. Cole. He was the youngest of four children. He had two older sisters, Grace and Francis Cole and one brother Wyley “Buddy” Cole. When Hood was five years old his mother died in June 1931 and six  months later his father died on Christmas day, December 25, 1931. He was raised by his oldest sister, Grace Cole Garman. Times were very hard for this family as they lived during the Great Depression. 

Hood enlisted - he was not drafted - in the U. S. Army, Ft. McPherson Army Base, Atlanta, Georgia, January 15, 1944; he was 18 years old. Hood was 5’9” tall and weighed 131 pounds with only grammar school listed as education. He was assigned to L Company, 3 rd Battalion, 276 th Infantry Regiment, 70 th Infantry Division. After a short training period in Florida, he and his battalion were deployed to France. His battalion was part of the many other U. S. military personnel who fought in the great Battle of the Bulge. 

Based on accounts in the L company 276 history written by the late Gene Burtner, Cole was assigned to the Heavy Weapons Platoon of the company. Luther Shaffer who was assigned in the same platoon recalls that on or about January 10, 1945, an attack was launched on the hills near Baerenthal. Troops advanced against heavy resistance in the afternoon. Hood E. Cole and Luther Shaffer were detailed to escort POWs to Battalion. It was after dark when they arrived at the POW holding area and the officer in charge said he had too many guards and sent Cole back to the front. 

The next morning Shaffer returned to the company and was informed that Cole became lost on his way back to the Company and walked into enemy lines and was injured. Another soldier, Arvel Whitt had crawled over to where Cole was injured and pulled him back to the American lines. He was given first aid treatment but Cole died during the night. During this time American troops were under heavy artillery fire while in this forest. The 276 infantry regiment had  received orders to move forward and attack. They were relieved in place by the 130 th Infantry Division. It was during this troop movement, it is now believed, that Cole’s body, along with the body of a fellow soldier, was left behind. Beginning in 1947 the American Graves Registration, the organization that searched for and recovered fallen American personnel in The European Theater, searched the area regarding the disposition of Cole’s remains. PFC Cole was declared non-recoverable on May 11, 1951. 

Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) historians have been conducting on-going research into Soldiers missing from combat around Baerenthal, France. They found that two bodies were buried in Ardennes American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in Neupre’, Belgium. This could be associated with Cole. The two bodies were disinterred in April 2018 and transferred to the DPAA Laboratory at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, for Analysis. To identify Cole’s remains, scientists from DPAA used anthropological and dental analysis. Cole’s niece, Betty Midkiff, was contacted by the U. S. Army for DNA samples and, as a result, his body was identified at last. 

Cole’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at Epinal American Cemetery in Dinoze’, France along with others still missing from World War II. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for and we will be able to honor PFC Hood E. Cole locally on January 15, 2024, as he is buried at Georgia National Cemetery. A family who has grieved for so long will be able to lay their loved one to rest. 

Article Researched and Written by Mary Lou Cagle, December 30, 2023 Documents furnished by Hood Cole’s Great Nephew, Rusty Midkiff.
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WASHINGTON—The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that U.S. Army Pfc. Hood E. Cole, 26, of Atlanta, Georgia, killed during World War II, was accounted for Feb. 22, 2023. 

In January 1945, Cole was assigned to L Company, 3rd Battalion, 276th Infantry Regiment, 70th Infantry Division. On Jan. 14, Cole was killed in action when his unit was attacked by German forces near Baerenthal, France. At some point during the fighting, Cole was killed, but historical records do not indicate exactly where. Due to the fighting, his body was unable to be immediately recovered. 

Beginning in 1947, the American Graves Registration Command (AGRC), the organization that searched for and recovered fallen American personnel in the European Theater, searched the area around Baerenthal. None of the investigations uncovered any leads regarding the disposition of Cole’s remains. He was declared non-recoverable on May 11, 1951. 

DPAA historians have been conducting on-going research into Soldiers missing from combat around Baerenthal and found that X-9441 and X-9442 Frankfurt Mausoleum, buried in Ardennes American Cemetery, an American Battle Monuments Commission site in in Neupré, Belgium, could be associated with Cole. X-9441 and X-9442 were disinterred in April 2018 and transferred to the DPAA Laboratory at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, for analysis. 

To identify Cole’s remains, scientists from DPAA used anthropological and dental analysis. Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and Y chromosome DNA (Y-STR) analysis. 

Cole’s name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at Epinal American Cemetery in Dinozé, France, along with others still missing from WWII. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for. 

Cole will be buried on January 15, 2024, in Canton, Georgia. 

For family and funeral information, contact the Army Casualty Office at (800) 892-2490. 

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at www.dpaa.mil or find us on social media at www.facebook.com/dodpaa or https://www.linkedin.com/company/defense-pow-mia-accounting-agency

Cole’s personnel profile can be viewed at https://dpaa-mil.sites.crmforce.mil/dpaaProfile?id=a0Jt0000000LkfdEAC.   

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Pfc. Hood Earnest Hood was my Great Uncle.  This is my story about his life which was cut short.  Hood was 19 years old when he died serving his country during World War II. After being listed as missing in action for almost 79 years, his remains were identified and recently returned to us.   He died sadly and those who could really say they knew him have long since passed.  The remembrances of him as a child and young man are known by my Mother Betty Midkiff, now in her 80ies, told to her by her Mother Grace Cole Garmonwho raised Hood.  I am blessed to have these memories.  The most significant words are that he knew the Lord and the only item being returned for his final resting place is his Bible.

Hood was known as Hoodie and he was raised by his sister, my Grandmother Grace Cole.  Hoodie lost both parents when he was 5 and 6 years old in 1931.   He was like a son to her; she carried his loss grieving for him throughout her life. She would say that he was a good boy and he wanted to serve his county by joining the U. S. Army and more importantly he joined; was not drafted.  In a letter he wrote after reaching his destination in Europe he told her how afraid he was traveling on the large ship carrying him and his comrades to war.  He had a wonderful sense of humor.  I do not know my uncles hopes and dreams or whether he joined the military out of a sense of obligation or desire…but he did join.   

So, what remains of my Great Uncle Hoodie - What did he leave behind?  What is his legacy?  I believe, rather remarkably that a boy so young could exemplify the American values of patriotism, honor, courage, and sacrifice.  That legacy will not fade with the passage of time but will be remembered by those of us who look upon a field of white crosses.

God Bless my Great Uncle Hood E. Cole and all those who perished with him.

 

Sgt. Rusty Midkiff

(Ret. U. S. Army)

January 12, 2024


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