A graduate of West Point Military Academy, Gen. Cole’s distinguished, 36-year military career includes combat in the Korean and Vietnam wars and tours in Japan, Germany, and high command in the United States, finishing his final tour of duty as the Deputy Commander of the Sixth United States Army.
He served a tour of duty in the Office of the Chief of Staff, United States Army, and in the Strategic Forces Division of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He commanded the 1st Brigade, 3rd Armored Division, and the Seventh Army Combined Arms Training Center in Germany. He was the Director of Military Instruction at the USMA and later commanded the Readiness Group at Fort Lewis, Washington. He commanded the United States Army’s National Training Center from 1982 to 1984 and later commanded the Army Readiness and Mobilization Region IX.
He holds a Master of Science degree in Industrial Engineering/Operations Research from Stanford University. His military education includes completion of the Armor Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, the United States Army Command and General Staff College, and the United States Army War College.
Upon retirement from active duty, he co-founded and became Chief Operating Officer of Personal Property Claims, Inc. In addition, he became a consultant for several companies on such key programs as the Combat Maneuver Training Center in Europe, the Reserve Component Automation System, and a Training Center for Saudi Arabia. He is active in civic leadership and serves as a Thurston County Planning Commissioner; President of the Meridian Heights Water District, President of the 14th Cavalry Association, and a board member of the USO of the Puget Sound Area. He is Chairman of the Board of the Olympic Refuge; a Trustee on the board of the New Mexico Military Institute Foundation, on the board of the Combined Federal Campaign for South Puget Sound, board member for Christian Fellowship House, and member of the board of governors of the West Point Society of Puget Sound.
He remains strongly connected to Ft. Lewis having served as past Chairman of the Fort Lewis Retiree Council, as the Washington State President of the AUSA, as the 6th Region AUSA Vice President for Retiree Affairs, and as the Chairman of the National AUSA Resolutions Committee. Since 1990, he has served on the Parish Council of the Fort Lewis Main Post Chapel and as the Local Representative for the Officers’ Christian Fellowship. Gen. Cole is a member of the National Association of the Uniformed Services, the Military Officers’ Association of America, the Armor Association (Gold Medallion member in the Order of St. George), the U.S. Cavalry Association, and an honorary member of the Noncommissioned Officers’ Association.
"I have spent most of my adult life in service to soldiers. While there are many civic groups and patriotic organizations whose purpose is a strong national defense, there are few whose primary function involves citizen support of our Armed Forces. The USO is such an organization.Somebody must be there in a visible and communicative way on a day-by-day basis. There is no better way to send the right message to the nation’s warriors and no other organization better suited to the task than the USO. "