Thursday, December 19, 2013

Awarding a Quilt of Valor

We were very proud to be able to award Lt Col Paul Cooper (Ret) with a Quilt of Valor today in a ceremony at the Crafty Threads Quilt Shop.  Crafty Threads is the "Under Our Wings" shop registered with the Quilts of Valor Foundation that sponsors our CT Quilters QOV Group.
Barb Linares-owner of Crafty Threads (and a Veteran) with Paul and his QOV
Paul had so many interesting stories to tell, so we asked him to go back to relate some of his experiences beginning with his active duty service back in 1971.  Paul had enlisted (after graduation from college where he was in ROTC) and he attended the last officer training class at Ft Sill (Oklahoma) that was sent to Vietnam.  [ editor’s note:  The Field Artillery branch of the US Army traces it roots back to 1775 and the Continental Congress and is known as the “King of Battle”.  The home of the Field Artillery is at Ft Sills. What a noble lineage Paul was signing up with …]

On completion of his training, Paul was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant and almost immediately sent to Southeast Asia.  He recalled arriving in Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam, on SuperBowl Sunday and listening to the game on the radio (for those of you techies who are wondering, there’s a 12 hour time difference from Vietnam to the US).

Cam Ranh Bay is now one of the most beautiful deep water harbors in the world.  During the Vietnam War it was turned into a major supply entrance point with off-loading ramps for large cargo vessels.  In addition, a US Air Force Base was constructed there with the large runways required for huge cargo and troop transport aircraft.  It was a beehive of activity when Paul arrived.
Pershing II Test Flight 1983
During his career, Paul was also assigned to one of only three Pershing missile units.  One unit was always on full alert in Germany, one was at stand-down and one remained in the United States.  “Pershing” were solid-fueled 2-stage medium range ballistic missiles used as the US Army’s primary nuclear capable theater-level weapons.

Subsequent to his active duty service, Paul remained in the Army Reserve while building his civilian career.  He earned his Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree and worked for National Airlines.  He is now officially retired from the military after 30 years of service to the United States, active duty and Reserves.  And remember that this man was promoted repeatedly, for his competency and particular expertise, from his initial rank of 2nd Lieutenant to his retirement rank of Lt Colonel – well done, Paul!
(L to R) Heather, Joe, Amy, Linda (Paul's wife) and Paul
We were fortunate that some members of Paul’s family could be on hand at the ceremony as we recognized Paul’s contributions to the security of our Nation.  We greatly respect his willingness to serve and preserved our freedoms during very trying times.

Label of Paul's Quilt of Valor

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