PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. -- More than 100 people turned out for the ribbon cutting and dedication of the Presidio of Monterey's newest instructional building in honor of a Medal of Honor recipient and language graduate here Oct. 17.

Building 618 is now known as "Cook Hall," in memory of Marine Corps Col. Donald G. Cook.

The building was officially opened after a ribbon-cutting ceremony outside the building followed by a dedication ceremony inside.

During the ribbon-cutting event, Presidio of Monterey Garrison Commander Col. Paul Fellinger, U.S. Rep. Sam Farr and Cook's son Thomas Cook cut the ceremonial ribbon. Then, at the end of the dedication event, Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center Commandant Col. David Chapman and Farr and Cook's daughter Victoria Spalding unveiled a bronze plaque of Cook. In addition to the participants, both events were also attended by other Cook family members and friends, state and local officials and military community members.

Marine 1st Lt. Donald Cook attended the Army Language School, the predecessor to the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, and graduated near the top of his Mandarin Chinese class in 1961.

In December 1964, Cook became the first Marine captured in Vietnam. And, eventually, Col. Donald Cook, posthumously, would become the recipient of this nation's highest military honor: the Medal of Honor.

The building dedicated to Cook is a 110,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility, using the latest energy- and water-conservation technologies. It is one of the most environmentally friendly structures on the Presidio. For example, all the rainwater that lands on Cook Hall is collected and stored in large underground cisterns. The water is used for irrigation and to flush toilets. And, natural lighting illuminates all interior- and exterior-facing rooms with sunlight, saving electricity.

The building is part of a larger, $177 million, upgrade plan for the Presidio, which also includes: a new dining facility and student barracks; renovating the cultural center for DLIFLC; and a series of solar-energy projects to help the Presidio in its goal to sustainably produce all its own energy by 2030.

Its opening marks the completion of the last of three General Instruction Buildings planned for the DLIFLC. Cook Hall is the home of the DLIFLC European and Latin Language School, whose students learn French, German, Portuguese, Russian, Serbian-Croatian and Spanish.