Lieutenant Colonel Jack Hart Cole, 88, U.S. Army (Retired) is one of the members of The Greatest Generation who has gone to his final rest. In the flag-draped casket, he looked quite sharp in his uniform with medals and service ribbons.
A West Point cadet, Jack served in the infantry in Europe in World War II and in the Korean War, and served staff duty in the Vietnam War. He was also a member of the U.S. Army General Staff, the Security Committee of the Department of Defense, and the North American Air Defense Guard. In retirement, he and his wife traveled the world and took lots of cruises.
He had a long career with Army because he said he didn’t have a choice. His father had served in World War I and had a military career, and Jack was to follow in his footsteps. Jack’s youngest son Paul related a story about how Jack came into World War II toward the tail end of the war, a brand new lieutenant.
Jack was out in the American lines when the Germans started strafing their foxholes with new jet aircraft, something that had not yet been seen. Jack had come out of the foxhole into the open and stared in amazement at these incredibly fast flying machines, even with the bullets flying around him. Someone tapped his shoulder and said, “Get back in your foxhole, soldier.” He turned and saw a silver helmet and pair of pearl handled guns. It was General George Patton, who then strode off through the gunfire like nothing was happening.
Jack was also remembered as a lover of music who liked barbershop quartet. The Harmonikats quartet performed a lovely version of Amazing Grace and a musical version of the Irish Blessing.
The officiant for the service was Pastor Don Kimbro with the Heights Christian Church. He shared Psalm 23, read the obituary, and referenced a line from the book of Judges, where an angel comes to talk to Gideon, who’s getting ready to go into battle, and says, “The Lord is with you, oh mighty warrior.” Pastor Kimbro also encouraged attendees to accept Jesus for salvation and eternal life.
A lovely video montage of photos from throughout Jack’s life traced his military career, his family, and the trips he took with his wife in retirement. It ended with the quote “Love and memories last forever.” After the benediction, attendees went to greet the family.
Jack will be buried in the Santa Fe National Cemetery with full military honors, including gun salute, flag folding and presentation, and Taps. The full three verses of Taps were printed inside the funeral program, with attribution to Dan Butterfield.
Day is done,
Gone the sun,
From the lakes,
From the hills,
From the sky,
All is well,
God is nigh.
Dims the sight,
And a star gems the sky,
Falls the night.
Thanks and praise,
For our days,
Neath the sun,
Neath the stars,
Neath the sky,
As we go,
This we know,
God is nigh.
Lt. Col. Jack Cole, thank you for your service.