15 Jul Mike Cooper headed West
Mike “porky” Cooper (80) headed West on July 15th
Michael P Cooper, August 28, 1933 – July 15, 2014. Aviation Cadet class 55-H, Fighter Gunnery at Laughlin AFB, Sept 1955, First assigned as 2nd Lt, 614 FBS, Lucky Devils, England AFB. Mike flew F-84’s, F-100’s, F-105’s and F-4’s. Mike flew 102 missions from Takhli in the “Thud” while deployed with the 334th TFS. On his second combat tour, he was the Ops Officer of the 555th “Triple Nickel” Squadron at Udorn where he flew an additional 156 missions in the F-4.
The services were held at Arlington National Cemetery on a very cold Friday the 13th (wind chill of about 1). Mike had a full military service with the honor guard, caisson drawn buy horses, 21 gun volley, taps, and a flyover by F15’s from his old squadron. Will try to send out some of the video later.The largely attended ceremony was incredibly impressive, highlighted by a magnificent Missing Man Formation of F-15’s from the 334th Fighting Eagles Squadron, Seymour Johnson AFB. Final farewell at the service was the traditional “Throw a nickel on the grass” salute to our legendary and endearing fighter pilot and friend.MP’s ashes are laid to rest in a coffee can elaborately adorned with a collage of pictures and memorabilia, masterfully and artistically fabricated by daughter Caroline. In more recent times Mike had become fond of Starbuck’s latte. He quickly went to double latte, then triple latte, the quad, the quint, and ultimately what was dubbed “six shooter”. Caroline and brother David agreed that a coffee can casket was most appropriate. Totally so.The Red River Valley Fighter Pilot Association hosted a welcome buffet at the Fort Myers Officers’ Club following. Mike, in planning a pleasurable exit from this world, had set up an account to fund an open bar for this eventuality. Three “Shit Hots” were enthusiastically shouted by all attendees, the ultimate tribute to his service to country, humanity, generosity, and altruism..
The photo below was taken at Aviano Air Base, Italy in January 1959 when Mike wrote:
“Aviano AB was the routine NATO rotational base from England AFB in those days. We had been there on this TDY from November 1958 heading home the first of May 1959 and Bruce Carr was our 614 TFS Squadron Commander, and a damned fine one.”
“The only thing mine about 877 was my name on the side of the canopy rail“
Mike was also the registered US patent holder of Mile High Hot Sauce!