Travis S Cooper
July 16, 2005
Killed in Balad, Iraq, from wounds sustained the previous day in Baghdad, Iraq, when an inprovised explosive device exploded near the vehicle he was searching.
|Macon soldier killed in Iraq
7/18/2005 6:12:43 AM
Daily Journal and wire reports
STARKVILLE - Sgt. Travis S. Cooper of Macon died Saturday in Iraq a hero, doing what family members say he loved.
Cooper, 24 and a member of the Mississippi National Guard, died from injuries he received Friday when a bomb exploded near a vehicle he was searching in Iskandariyah, located about 30 miles south of Baghdad.
Cooper, who had attended Noxubee High School, was a member of the 2nd Battalion, 114th Field Artillery Regiment headquartered in Starkville. He recently was awarded the Army Achievement Award on April 8 for "extreme dedication of duty and professionalism" in more than 50 missions as a rifleman and forward observer, according to his brother, Antwan Cooper, 22, of DeKalb.
"I'm proud of my brother because he died fighting for our country," Antwan said. "I'll forever remember him as my brother and my hero."
Joining the military was all Travis Cooper talked about when he was growing up, his younger brother said Sunday. Cooper finished high school a year early to get his GED to join the military.
"He was a very ambitious person," Antwan said. "He always wanted to better himself."
However, when Cooper wasn't allowed to enter the military because of a tattoo on his neck, he saved $2,500 from working at a grocery store to have it removed.
Cooper's favorite things to do included playing cards with his family and learning about old wars on the Discovery Channel, Antwan Cooper said.
"The world lost a very amazing young man," said Cooper's aunt, Levon Cooper of Dekalb. "Travis was the ambitious type, always trying to do more than the average man."
Cooper was part of the 155th Brigade Combat Team, which is made up of nearly 3,500 Mississippi Guard soldiers and others from throughout the country. The unit trained at Camp Shelby near Hattiesburg and deployed to Iraq in January.
Antwan Cooper said members of his brother's unit have contacted the family and "are taking it hard."
"If you have a whole unit of people that work with you everyday and they take it hard like that, it shows you what kind of person he was," he said.
Cooper's death brings to 13 the number of soldiers in the unit who have died in Iraq. "Our hearts and prayers go out to the Cooper family and friends," said Gov. Haley Barbour. "Marsha and I honor this brave man's service, and we deeply regret this incident."
"Another Mississippi soldier has paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms," said Maj. Gen. Harold A. Cross, the adjutant general of Mississippi. "Sgt. Cooper is a true hero, and we all mourn his loss along with the Cooper family."
Antwan Cooper said his brother's death is a hard blow, but he will try to keep things together to comfort other family members.
"He would want me to be strong," he said of his brother.
Daily Journal reporter Robbie Ward contributed to this report.n Sgt. Travis S. Cooper, who was based in Starkville, was part of the 155th Brigade Combat Team.
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