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North Country ball player, infantry veteran of World War II remembered at Fort Drum

Mike Strasser

Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs

FORT DRUM, N.Y. (Sept. 22, 2021) – Baseball is traditionally considered to be America’s pastime, and many Fort Drum community members have formed teams for friendly games at the Staff Sgt. Truman Cool Memorial Ball Fields, adjacent to Magrath Sports Complex.

But wait … you don’t know anything about Truman Cool or why he is part of Fort Drum history?

That is the purpose of the “Around and About” series – to highlight the names of different sites and structures on post and to provide a little insight into their history.

Staff Sgt. Truman Cool didn’t serve with the 10th Mountain Division, but the World War II veteran and North Country native is remembered at Fort Drum for his fighting spirit, athleticism and patriotism.

Cool was born on May 22, 1921, to Stanley and Louisa Cool, and he was raised on the family farm in LeRaysville, one of Fort Drum’s “lost villages.” He went to school at LeRaysville Grammar School and Evans Mills High School. A star pitcher, Cool was said to have the potential to become a professional ballplayer. After graduation, Cool attended Canton Agricultural and Technical Institute in St. Lawrence County for a year before enlisting in the U.S. Army as an infantryman in 1940.

He was transferred to Hawaii in late 1941 and was serving as an amphibious instructor when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7. In May 1943, Cool was assigned to Camp Beale in Sacramento, California, and then to Fort McClellan, in Anniston, Alabama, in January 1944.

He deployed to the European Theater from Fort Meade, Maryland, in March 1944, and campaigned across the deserts of North Africa, then into Sicily. Assigned to the 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, Cool was killed May 23, 1944, (a day after his 23rd birthday) on the third day of battle to secure the Anzio beachhead during the allied invasion of Italy.

The ball fields at Fort Drum were dedicated to Cool on June 17, 2014. Among the attendees at the ribbon-cutting ceremony was Dr. Bill Delaney, a former LeRaysville resident who remembered the hometown hero for being equally adept at bat as he was on the pitching mound.  

“His account of Truman patiently encouraging him and teaching him how to swim in what is now Remington Pond was incredibly moving,” said Dr. Laurie Rush, Fort Drum Cultural Resources manager.

In his remarks, Delaney said that the place he and Truman called home is now at the end of a gravel road marked “Rappel Tower.”

“His village is gone, so he couldn’t come home if wanted, but his memory lingers with me,” Delaney said. “The men training at Fort Drum would be proud to have Truman Cool as one of them.”