Iraq Veteran Killed

Sometimes in life we are what we are before we're born. That's the case of a Bonifay man who was born a Marine, lived his life as a Marine, and now has died a Marine.

John Cooper was born at Camp Pendleton, California in 1983 when his father, Tom Cooper, was a serving there as a member of the United States Marine Corp.

Kim and John Cooper, parents, say, "He always kind of knew that even though he was born at Camp Pendleton, he wanted to be a Marine."

These days there's a black ribbon on the door and flags flying at half staff at Tom and Kim Cooper's home. Their son John, who served time as a Marine in Iraq and the Philippines, was set to head off to Afghanistan before he was found unconscious on July 4 at a Marine base in Hawaii.

His apparent head injuries would lead to his death. So far it's being called an accident; the Coopers say they'll wait for the facts to sort themselves out.

"We're not concerned about it. They'll do a good thorough investigation. They're not just going to talk to a few people then close it.”

The Coopers are coping with the loss by remembering who their son was and how he was so driven. John enlisted in the Marines just before his senior year of high school.

"That was right before September 11th happened. A lot of people thought that he wouldn't want to still be in it because of the and he said they just didn't understand that he wanted to serve his country. That's what he wanted to do."

John recently extended his contract to serve in Afghanistan. He'd planned to re-enlist with the Marine Corp when he returned.

Funeral services will be held for John Cooper at the First Baptist Church of Bonifay this Saturday.