Kenneth Allen Cone
July 23, 1940 – December 2, 2019
Kenneth (Ken) Allen Cone passed away after a long illness on December 2, 2019. He was born July 23, 1940 to Merlin Jennings and Mary Rose Cone in Neosho, Missouri. Ken married Patty Howard on December 26, 1963. He loved spending time with his family, his military career, traveling, and was an avid golfer and fisherman. He was preceded in death by his father, Merlin Jennings Cone; his mother, Mary Rose Cone and his niece, Sheila Haggerty. He is survived by his devoted wife of 55 years, Patty Jane; his three adult children, Christine Garza, Kyna (Steve) Purcell, and Scott Cone; as well as three grandchildren, Nicholas Garza, Taylor Garza and Logan Cone. He is also survived by one sister, Cecilia Fly and his three nieces, Cheryl Nowack, Carol Fly and Cathy Lambert in addition to numerous extended family members.
Ken had a vast and decorated military career. He volunteered for the draft after one year of college with the plan to fulfill his draft obligation and then return to civilian life. He soon discovered that the Army appealed to him and went on to Officer Candidate School and was accepted for Infantry OCS and sent to Fort Benning, Georgia. Upon graduation he attended a three month Communication Officer course and then to Airborne and Ranger training. He spent thirteen months stationed at the DMZ in Korea and remained in Korea an additional six months partnering with the Marines. He later served two tours in Vietnam with the 1st Cavalry “Airmobile” Gunship unit. His battalion engaged the National Vietnamese Army (N.V.A.) in what was later to become known as the Battle of the Ia Drang Valley. The Battle of the Ia Drang Valley was depicted in the movie “We Were Soldiers”. Ken was placed in command of the Chinook Company in the 101ST Airborne Division.
Later in his career he was teaching amphibious warfare at the Naval Amphibious Warfare School in Coronado, California. All of his students were field-grade Marine majors and Naval personnel. Two years later he was assigned to become the Helo Ops Coordinator for the Admiral, 7th Fleet, Okinawa, Japan. Additionally, he was flying Navy fixed wing S3 aircraft from Okinawa to Korea and Japan. During his time with the Navy he crossed the equator and participated in the mandatory seagoing ceremony in which you go from a Pollywog to a Shellback. He was able to do this as an Army officer aboard a Navy ship, definitely a unique experience. Working with both services was a real challenge with the politics inherent in the services. He then went to MILPERCEN as Chief Army Linguist Management Team in Washington DC. During his time at MILPERCEN he received a Master’s Degree in Personnel Administration and Management. His final assignment was Professor of Military Science (PMS) at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. He retired from the Army in 1984 and started another career as a Pharmaceutical Representative which lasted until 2004 when he retired as an Executive Professional Representative.
Ken was fondly referred to as ‘The Colonel’ and admired by everyone that was fortunate enough to know him. He had a quick wit and the utmost respect for everyone he came into contact with. He was an honorable man of great integrity and character and will be greatly missed. Rest in Peace, Colonel, until we meet again…
In lieu of flowers, Ken would be honored to have donations made to the Wounded Warrior Project. His services are being held with full military honors and are currently pending.
Awards: Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross for Heroism, Bronze Star, OLC, Air Medal with “V” Device, Air Medal (28) OLC, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal (5).
Decorations: CIB, EIB, Jump Wings, Ranger Tab, Master Aviator Badge.
Education: Officer Candidate School – 1962 Infantry Advance Course – 1969 Command and General Staff College – 1973 University of Nebraska, BA – 1970 Central Michigan University, MA – 1978
Retirement: LTC – 1984 Pharmaceutical Industry, Title: Executive Senior Sales
- Wounded Warrior Project
Kenneth Allen Cone
Crisinda Slater Knauts
December 7, 2019
I am so sorry for your loss. I know he had to be a wonderful man to raise such great kids. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you.