IT TO ‘EM BABY” |
Published by Allen and Unwin – ISBN 1741148499.
Garry Cooper is a natural and brilliant pilot with a determination for perfection. He expects only perfection from himself and others. Conflict arose many times through his career when he did not experience perfection from the bureaucracy to which he was subjected.
On posting to the US Army, 9th Infantry Division in Vietnam in 1968, he approached his assignment in the same devoted and determined manner and soon became known as a ‘legend’ by his American peers. General Julian J. Ewell, the Commander of the 9th Infantry Division, and himself a legend from the Normandy Landings and the Siege of Bastogne during WWII, recommended Cooper for the Medal of Honor and the Distinguished Service Cross. Both these are the US highest awards for gallantry and, as such, required Australian Government concurrence before being awarded. As Australia was not allowing its soldiers to receive US awards during the Vietnam conflict, that concurrence was not forthcoming. Although Australian policy regarding foreign awards has since changed, the government is still preventing Cooper from receiving these high profile awards.
The US however, for other actions and without reference to the Australian Government, has awarded Cooper the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star for Valor, Purple Heart, Air Medal for Valor and the Army Commendation for Valor. The Vietnamese Government awarded Cooper the Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star and the Honor Medal 1st Class. In contrast, the Australian Government awarded Cooper an imperial DFC which Cooper refers to as his ‘I was there award’.
Just recently Cooper was awarded the Dartnell Cross of Valour by the Legion of Frontiersmen, their highest award, which, in the past, has only been awarded to four Victoria Cross and George Cross recipients.
Today, Cooper lives in retirement in Queensland, Australia. He has been made a life-time honorary member, of the various US Army units he served, by the men whose lives he saved and attends their reunions in the USA.
Allen and Unwin – Sydney, May 2006
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