WILLIAM E COOPER
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HONORED ON PANEL 6E, LINE 131 OF THE WALL

WILLIAM EARL COOPER

WALL NAME

WILLIAM E COOPER

PANEL / LINE

6E/131

DATE OF BIRTH

09/16/1920

CASUALTY PROVINCE

NZ

DATE OF CASUALTY

04/24/1966

HOME OF RECORD

ALBANY

COUNTY OF RECORD

Dougherty County

STATE

GA

BRANCH OF SERVICE

AIR FORCE

RANK

COL

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Contact Details
ASSOCIATED ITEMS LEFT AT THE WALL

REMEMBRANCES

LEFT FOR WILLIAM EARL COOPER
POSTED ON 7.19.2015

Final Mission of LTC William E. Cooper

On April 24, 1966, a multi-plane strike force departed Korat Airbase, Thailand on a strike mission on a highway-railroad bridge north of Hanoi. The target was a vital link, bearing traffic coming down from China. The Squadron Commander (and commander of the mission), LTC William E. Cooper was in one flight of four F-105s. In another of the flights was 1LT Jerry D. Driscoll. As the first flight approached the target, Cooper's F-105D was hit by a surface-to-air missile (SAM). The plane subsequently broke in half, and the front section, with canopy intact, was observed as it fell into a flat spin. Witnessed did not see Cooper eject and believed the he went down with the aircraft, but there was doubt enough that the Air Force determined him Missing in Action rather than killed. Just afterwards, 1LT Jerry D. Driscoll (code-name Pecan 4) was inbound to the target, about ten miles north, going approximately 550 knots (about 600 miles per hour) when his aircraft was struck in the tail by anti-aircraft fire, causing it to catch fire. Flames were blowing out the back twice as long as the aircraft. Others in the flight radioed to Driscoll that he was on fire, and he immediately prepared to eject as the aircraft commenced a roll. Driscoll punched out at about 1000 feet, with the aircraft nearly inverted, and as a result, his parachute barely opened before he was on the ground. He had removed his parachute and was starting to take off his heavy flight suit when he was surrounded by about twenty North Vietnamese and captured. Driscoll was moved immediately to the "Heartbreak Hotel" in Hanoi where his interrogation (and torture) began. Driscoll was a POW for the next seven years, and was released in Operation Homecoming on February 12, 1973. William E. Cooper was awarded the Air Force Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with 7 oak leaf clusters and the Purple Heart. He was promoted to the rank of Colonel during the period he was maintained Missing in Action. He was married with five children. Jerry D. Driscoll, a graduate of the Air Force Academy in 1963, was promoted to the rank of Captain during his captivity. After spending time at the Heartbreak Hotel, he was later moved to a prison camp referred to as the Zoo. At the Zoo, Driscoll heard through another POW, CAPT Charlie Boyd, that an interrogator said to him that Cooper had initially survived the crash, but critically injured, he died in a field cradled in the arms of an old Vietnamese farmer. This ending was not supported by fact. This information was rendered moot by a site visit and exhumation by the Joint Task Force-Full Accounting in November 1997. This site investigation was important for two reasons. The first was a determination that the pilot was in the cockpit upon impact. The second was the interrogatories of eyewitnesses. Chief among these was the former militia leader of Hoang Thanh Township, Le Xuan Bian. Bian saw the aircraft fall and impact in a rice paddy. He tells of his militia having to keep the villagers from around the aircraft due to its being on fire and the exploding ammunition. That evening when the fire had stopped and they did not hear any more ammunition exploding, he and some other militiamen removed the remains of the pilot. Cooper’s remains were wrapped in a woven mat and buried about 100 meters from the aircraft, along a riverbank. Over the ensuing years the remains were exhumed and moved three different times. The visit to the crash site in 1997 produced limited results and the artifacts recovered were being reviewed by the department of defense labs. On December 22, 2014, it was announced that Cooper had been accounted for. [Taken from pownetwork.org]
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POSTED ON 4.7.2015
POSTED BY: A Grateful Vietnam Vet

Welcome Home.

Welcome home.
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POSTED ON 11.22.2014

Final Mission of LTC William E. Cooper

On April 24, 1966, a multi-plane strike force departed Korat Airbase, Thailand on a strike mission on a highway-railroad bridge north of Hanoi. The target was a vital link, bearing traffic coming down from China. The Squadron Commander (and commander of the mission), LTC William E. Cooper was in one flight of four F-105s. As the first flight approached the target, Cooper's F-105D was hit by a surface-to-air missile (SAM). The plane subsequently broke in half, and the front section, with canopy intact, was observed as it fell into a flat spin. Witnessed did not see Cooper eject and and believed the he went down with the aircraft, but there was doubt enough that the Air Force determined him Missing in Action rather than killed. [Taken from vhpa.org]
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POSTED ON 7.4.2014
POSTED BY: Curt Carter [email protected]

Remembering An American Hero

Dear Colonel William Earl Cooper, sir

As an American, I would like to thank you for your service and for your sacrifice made on behalf of our wonderful country. The youth of today could gain much by learning of heroes such as yourself, men and women whose courage and heart can never be questioned.

May God allow you to read this, and may He allow me to someday shake your hand when I get to Heaven to personally thank you. May he also allow my father to find you and shake your hand now to say thank you; for America, and for those who love you.

With respect, Sir

Curt Carter
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POSTED ON 4.24.2014
POSTED BY: A Grateful Vietnam Vet

Distinguished Flying Cross

Distinguished Flying Cross

Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 2, 1926, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross with Combat "V" to Major William Earl Cooper (AFSN: 0-52496), United States Air Force, for heroism while participating in aerial flight as Mission Commander of a multi-aircraft strike against a heavily defended railroad bridge on a main supply line Northeast of Hanoi, North Vietnam on 1 December 1965. Realizing the significance of the target, Major Cooper exposed himself dangerously in order to insure accurate navigation in difficult terrain partially obscured by broken weather conditions. His excellent judgment resulted in the immediate acquisition of the target. Ordnance deliver was accomplished with the complete destruction of the defensive position assigned to him. By so doing, Major Cooper simplified and insured the accurate target acquisition for the remainder of the strike force, as well as diminishing the defensive capability of the hostile forces. His outstanding leadership and airmanship resulted in the successful destruction of other defensive positions by the aircraft immediately following him, allowing the main strike force to concentrate on the railroad bridge itself under reduced defensive fire. The bridge was destroyed. Major Cooper's excellent leadership, selfless devotion to duty and outstanding judgment reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
Action Date: December 1, 1965

Service: Air Force

Rank: Major

Company: 469 Tactical Fighter Squadron

Division: Korat Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand
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