Doc Cooke, 'mayor of the Pentagon,' dies at 81

David O. Cooke

David O. 'Doc' Cooke, who in more than four decades at the Defense Department was known as the 'mayor of the Pentagon,' died June 22 as a result of car injuries suffered June 6.

Cooke, a Navy veteran of World War II who started working at the Pentagon in 1958, was DOD's director of administration and management and director of Washington Headquarters Services. He was the department's highest-ranking career civil servant.

After World War II, he earned a law degree from George Washington University and returned to the Navy, retiring in 1968 as a captain. He began his Pentagon career by serving on then-Secretary Neil McElroy's task force on reorganizing DOD. Cooke continued working on changing departmental management under Secretary Robert McNamara.

After his retirement from the Navy, he led the Office of Organizational Management and Planning, which evolved into his director's job.

Among the awards Cooke received were the DOD Medal for Distinguished Civilian Service, which he received seven times, the Medal for Outstanding Public Service and twice the medal for Distinguished Public Service.

He is survived by a daughter and two sons. His wife, Marion, died in 1999. Cooke will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Stay Connected

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.