FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. 10-2-11
A soldier killed in Afghanistan has been laid to rest in the Florida Panhandle.
Spc. Ryan J. Cook was killed Sept. 18 in Afghanistan's Takhar Province.
The 29-year-old was buried Saturday in Fort Walton Beach.
Cook's family and friends gathered Friday night for a funeral service.
Brig. Gen. John Wharton presented Cook's Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
Wharton also read letters from soldiers in Cook's unit who described Cook as a "big brother."
Cook was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Wainwright, Alaska.
Air Force Tech. Sgt. Justin Reese described his friend as a man whose tough-guy facade hid a deep loyalty to his friends and family.