Staff Sergeant Nathan Cooper rejoined the 3rd Infantry Division Realism Unit on May 8. 2021 where he was first assigned to Second Squad, First Platoon, Alpha Company quickly moved to Third Squad, and then to Fourth Squad to serve as a Fireteam Leader where he has been since. Staff Sergeant N.Cooper is currently a Squad Leader within Fourth Squad, First Platoon, Alpha Company, and leads his team from the front.
Throughout his time here, he has shown a very strong passion for our unit, dedication, patriotism, valor, fidelity, and professional excellence. He shows these while leading a combat squad to showing excellence in several DMOSs (PAO/ BMO) where he serves as the Non-Commissioned Officer of our Public Affairs Office and an Electronic Maintenance Chief in our Base Maintenance Office. Given these qualities, his demonstrated leadership potential, and dedicated service, Staff Sergeant Nathan Cooper has been awarded the Soldiers Medal and selected as this Soldier of the Quarter.
Why did you join 3rdID and what keeps you here?
Flannigan and I were searching for a new Unit since we weren't too happy with the one we were in at that time. After lots of looking he and I stumbled across a rather interesting-looking unit on ClansList. On the surface, it looked organized, clean, and structured. After looking into the unit deeper we noticed the PERSCOM section, like every unit has some sort of PERSCOMs but here, with the uniforms, medals, ranks, etc. we just thought "This, right here is quality!". So after finally getting the strength to leave our old unit behind, we talked to a recruiter, some may remember him, SGT Worrall. The way he sold us the unit was insane, we were sucked in. Fast forward a couple of months, almost 15-16 to be exact, I still find myself being here. The main motivating factor is obviously the friends that I've found. Like no matter what happens, I know that I always have people here that I could call family. From Private to Major, everyone here is just awesome and that's probably one of the biggest reasons why I'm here.
Any favorite/funny/memorable moment throughout your whole time in the unit?
Well, there are a few, like the time, back then, CPL Skitz was so tired that he looked at our unit nickname "Rock of the Marne" and said "Rock of the Marne? More like rock hard baby!" during the ceremony with half of the Platoon present. Or when, back then, SPC Flannigan went onto the radio and yelled "Cooper, we've good enemy movement, between north and south on our left!" and I just responded with "You mean west?". But to this day the one that I find the funniest is still the moment, I, SSG Vandle, SGT Leng, and a few others played the new SOG DLC, to be specific, we played escape. After possibly 30-1hour of us getting lost in the Jungle, SSG Vandle decided to take the lead on the map reading. After roughly another 15-20min of us driving down a road leading to a dead end with people asking "So, where are we now?" you just hear SSG Vandle very confidently say "Guys, calm down. I know exactly where we are!" followed by a very quiet and defeated "I have zero clue where we are..." by, you guessed it, SSG Vandle himself, followed by around 10-12 people starting to laugh at the same time.
Any advice to give to your fellow soldiers?
Well except for the obvious of don't give up no matter what happens, not really. If there is one thing that I've learned within this unit is that as long as you keep your head up, and stay confident and motivated, you can achieve anything and everything. Just don't give up the moment something doesn't go your way, especially for the newer leaders here. Think outside the box! Do whatever you must to complete the mission. Obviously, stay on target while doing so and more importantly stay professional while doing so!
What army value is the most important one to you and why?
I honestly can't just choose a single one. Those who know me, they know that I value Respect and Personal Courage the most. Respect for obvious reasons, you can't succeed if you don't have respect for your fellow Soldiers. You don't have to like someone on a personal level but showing a person respect is the best way to keep peace with them, this is important, especially on the Battlefield! Personal Courage might come as a weird one to some, but quite simply, without it, I wouldn't be a Staff Sergeant within this unit. My fellow Squad leads know that I like to take risks for an obvious reason. If I can achieve something by taking on a risk and the reward out ways the negatives I'll 100% take it any day of the week. Doesn't matter if it's an opportunity passed out in hopes of something better popping up in the future or on the battlefield deciding to go "balls deep" and just use the Stryker as bait to eliminate the remaining hostiles in a town. Personal Courage and Respect are the most important things to have.
What motivates you?
That's a tough one, especially if you think about that I'm basically at the end of the road when it comes to progression comes. At least for quite some time that is. Well, honestly it's meeting new people, seeing them grow up, and maybe even becoming Fireteam leaders or even Squad leaders. I know some people in this unit since they joined in early 2021 or even late 2020. I've seen SSG Vandle go from PVT to being one of the best Squad Leaders this unit has ever seen, I've had his second fireteam leader in OSUT early 2021, SGT Ivanov. This is what brings me joy to this, seeing the people I've put blood and sweat into becoming something big within the unit. I love it.
Any valuable lessons you've learned while being in the unit?
Well, this is the time I suck up to my greatest inspiration within this unit, 1LT Drake. He's the one I did 4 WLC classes under and the one that keeps on teaching me valuable things not only as my Officer in this unit but also as a friend outside of it. The greatest thing he's taught me was Patience. No matter what goes wrong, as long as you can keep being level-headed and look past the annoyances you'll be bound to achieve greatness. Another thing he taught me is to pull my weight. No matter what you do, you must pull your weight, as soon as you stop doing that everything will collapse. No matter where it is, may it be at work, in the unit, or in the sport you do. As soon someone stops pulling their weight everything will crumble, and by those words, I try to live.