Summary

Staff Sargeant Blonnie Ray Cooper served in the 180th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division. He went over seas among the 1st to reach North Africa, and was in that Campaign. Later he was in the Sicilian & Italian Campaigns. The last was the invasion of Southern France. SSG Cooper was killed in action and is buried in the Rhone American Cemetery, Draguignan, France. (Links: American Battle Monumants Commission. www.abmc.gov/cemeteries )

Birth:
1924 1
Conflict Period:
World War II 1
Branch:
Army 1
Rank:
Staff Sergeant 1
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Personal Details

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Birth:
1924 1
Male 1
Burial:
Burial Date: 16 Aug 1944 2
Burial Place: Rhone American Cemetery, Draguignan, France 2
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World War II 1

Branch:
Army 1
Rank:
Staff Sergeant 1
Service End Date:
1944 1

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Stories

"Gallantry & Fearlessness"

Invasion of Southern France

SSG Cooper was a squad leader of an infantry division. A few weeks prior to his death he had charged against 31 Germans in a machine gun out post.  With the assistance of one other soldier, killed 7 of the enemy and captured the remaining 24, including one officer. SSG Cooper was awarded the Silver Star for "Gallantry and Fearlessness" in this heroic action against the enemy.

Before the paper work was completed for the "Congressional Medal of Honor", his Commanding officer was also killed in action a few weeks after SSG Cooper.

SSG Cooper was awarded 2 Bronze Stars and the Purple Heart.

"Ray" Cooper was born in the Williams community, about 3 miles north of Lafayette , Tn. He spent his childhood in this area. Later the family moved to Taylorville, IL., and still later to Aurora, IL. Of course as many young men during this era and war, he lied about his age to enlist at the age of 17yrs. He died at the age of 20, the oldest son and brother of a family of 5 boys at the time. He is buried in the Rhone American Cemetery, Draguinan, France. Staff Sargeant Blonnie Ray Cooper is listed among the World War II Honor Roll at his resting place. His younger brothers have served in the Army. The next oldest son also "lied" about his age to enlist and served in 1946, post WW II. The 3rd son & brother was killed at 29 yrs. The next 2 boys both served in the Korean War, and the youngest served during the Vietnam War.

As I research my "Cooper" ancestry, and add this Memorial Page for my Uncle, I am overwhelmed with information. The "Cooper" family has a heritage of service in protecting the country we love. From records in my family tree, I have learned of the struggles endured from the present (Afganistan), to Vietnam, Korea, WW II, the War of 1812, the Civil War (Union volunteers with the Kentucky Calvary), and Revolutionary War Patriots. (Documents fom the Sons & Daughters of the American Revolution). I am humbled by my Uncle Ray's heroic service and supreme sacrifice. In Memory of a "Thunderbird".

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