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Marine retires after three decades of service

By Joycelyn Biggs | | August 15, 2013

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The chapel was filled Friday with family members, Marines and well-wishers to honor Master Gunnery Sgt. Terry Cooper as he retired from the Marine Corps after 30 years of dedicated service.
Cooper is from Saginaw, Mich., and was the senior enlisted advisor and logistics chief for the Operations Directorate, Marine Corps Logistics Command.
Cooper was presented with a certificate of retirement, letters commending his service from President Barack H. Obama and Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James F. Amos; a Meritorious Service Medal and two American flags. One flag was flown over Coffman Hall, Building 3500. The other was flown over the Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Va., on his sister’s birthday. This was especially meaningful to Cooper, he said, as he lost his sister, Bonnie Cooper, to cancer.
Col. Don Davis, commanding officer, MCLB Albany, was the retiring official and spoke about Cooper’s Marine Corps service.
He described Cooper as a man of faith and a dedicated family man.
He explained Cooper often did not know what his mission would be, but always went willingly, knowing whatever he would be tasked to do had meaning and trusted God would direct him and protect him.
According to Davis, Cooper’s success can also be attributed to Cooper’s family who supported him throughout his prestigious career. In recognition of that support, Davis requested a round of applause for his family.
“When he hits holes in the road, that sometimes become ravines, he kept going,” Davis said. “When I spoke to him about his service and some of the trials he faced during that time, he said to me, ‘Sir, my trials compared to others is nothing.’ To be able to say that after 30 years of service and 26 years of marriage shows his character.”
Cooper’s career with the Marines began in October 1983 with basic training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, Calif., graduating as a series honor man and meritoriously promoted to private first class.
During his career, Cooper served with the 3d Force Service Support Group, Okinawa, Japan. In June 1988, he was meritoriously promoted to the rank of sergeant and shortly thereafter ordered to report to Recruiting Station, Jacksonville, Fla., where he was twice recognized as the Support Person of the Year for outstanding performance of duty.
Among his assignments, Cooper served in 1997 as the Marine Corps Security Force Company, supply chief, Rota, Spain. He provided key supply and fiscal management support to the security force company and participated every year in the annual Belleau Woods Battle Study and Memorial Service.
“I have many fond memories and accomplishments with the Marine Corps,” Cooper said. “One accomplishment that stands out in my mind is my role in deactivating a command as the supply chief and supply officer. We completed a very difficult task in deactivating that command with very limited staff.”
Now that he is retired, Cooper plans to remain in Albany.
“I’m not sure exactly what’s next,” he said. “I trust God will direct me.”
His awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Gold Star in lieu of second award, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with two Gold Stars in lieu of third award, and Good Conduct Medal with one Silver Star and three Bronze Stars in lieu of ninth award.

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