Monday, July 05, 2010

Army Spc. Keenan A. Cooper

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. Keenan A. Cooper, 19, of Wahpeton, N.D.

Spc. Cooper was assigned to the 4th Squadron, 73rd Armor Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.; died July 5, 2010 in Yakuta, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device. Also killed was Spc. Jerod H. Osborne.

U.S. Army Spc. Keenan Cooper, 19, a 2008 Wahpeton High School graduate, was traveling in a convoy with his unit, the 82nd Airborne, Monday when an improvised explosive device went off, said the Rev. Mike Adams, official family spokesperson.

The military did not release details of Cooper's death to his family, Adams said. "Everybody is pretty sure it was a roadside bomb," Adams said. "That's what was insinuated."

Cooper was serving with the Fort Bragg, N.C.-based 82nd Airborne Division, said Adams, who said he had known Cooper since the soldier was eight years old.

Adams said his parents Dave and Heather Cooper were notified Monday night. Funeral arrangements are pending.

Keenan Cooper would have celebrated his 20th birthday next week and was slated to complete his first tour of duty in Afghanistan next month, Adams said. "He was just about ready to come home," Adams said.

Cooper was engaged to April Travis and the couple planned to marry in October, Adams said.

The lifelong Wahpeton resident had returned to his hometown last month for a visit. "He was in good spirits," Adams said. "He was quite happy to see his fiance and seemed happy to be in church. He was doing really well."

Cooper's parents and his fiance were scheduled to travel to be Dover Air Force Base in Delaware when his body is returned this week, Adams said.

"He knew when he was in fourth grade that he would be in the Army someday," Adams said. "When he made up his mind to do something, he did it."

Cooper was friendly and soft-spoken, Adams said. "He was a man of few words but if you caught him at the right time, he could be as funny as possible," Adams said.

Congressman Earl Pomeroy issued a statement Tuesday on the death of Specialist Keenan Cooper, a native of Wahpeton, N.D., in a roadside bomb attack in Afghanistan.

“While our nation celebrated its Independence Day, we knew some of our best were risking their lives in defense of freedom. It is heartbreaking to learn that Specialist Keenan Cooper, one of our own, has lost his life while on patrol in Afghanistan.”

“The thoughts and prayers of families across North Dakota will be with his fiancĂ©e and family during this sad time.”

Gov. John Hoeven issued the following statement in response to the death in Afghanistan of Army Spc. Keenan Cooper, a native of Wahpeton, who died as a result of combat injuries on Monday. He was serving with the U.S. Armys A Troop, 4th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry, 4th Brigade Combat Team of the 82nd Airborne Division based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Mikey and I extend our deepest sympathy to the family of Spc. Keenan Cooper, who died in the service of his country on Monday in Afghanistan. Our hearts and prayers go out to his parents Heather and Dave, to his siblings, and to his friends as they deeply grieve his loss.

On behalf of all North Dakotans, we offer our heartfelt gratitude for Keenans distinguished service, and pledge never to forget his ultimate sacrifice for our state and our nation.

As of July 5, 2010, 16 U.S. service members from North Dakota or serving with North Dakota military units have been reported killed while on duty in Iraq. Five others were killed in Afghanistan.

Cooper's awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the Combat Infantryman Badge and the Basic Parachutist Badge.

Cooper is survived by his parents, his fiance, and 4 younger silblings.

Army Spc. Keenan A. Cooper was killed in action on 7/5/10.

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