MONTEVALLO, Ala. (WIAT) — World War II and Vietnam veteran Col. Carl Cooper, USMC Retired, joined Governor Kay Ivey at the American Village in Montevallo to honor veterans Friday.“I love to serve my country,” said Cooper. “When Desert Storm came around, I called up Headquarters at the Marine Corps and asked them could I come back on active duty. They started laughing. They said, ‘Colonel, you’ve had your fun. Let some of the young folks have their fun,'” he added laughing.
Cooper enlisted with the United States Marines in 1942 and served 38 years through both World War II and the Vietnam War.“Y’all, these are priceless individuals who have given not only in service to the country but they have helped build our communities, build businesses. They’re an inspiration to us,” said Gov. Ivey.“We have some 375,000 veterans in our great state,” she said. “It’s our veterans who have fought to protect and preserve our freedoms.”
Cooper said he vividly remembers the men he led and served with over seas.“I can call most of them by name. They were great Americans too,” he said.
Cooper encourages younger men to follow in his footsteps. He said through his career, he earned three degrees, including a PhD.
“Not bad for a country boy,” he said.
These days, he spends time working on his farm. He said he’s had a good life, but he’s not done yet.“I’ve got a few more years I want to fill up,” Col. Cooper said, laughing.