Korean War Legacy Project

Albert Cooper

Bio

Albert Cooper was born on May 31, 1933 in Coytesville, New Jersey. After graduation from high school in Vermont, he enlisted in the US Air Force in 1950. He received basic training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas followed by air police training at Samson Air Force Base in New York. In October 1952, he was deployed to the Korea by ship. Over the next year, he was assigned to investigate crimes, perform counterintelligence, and was responsible for the security of a radar station as a member of  the Air Police Squadron until returning home in 1953. Through his experiences, he developed great admiration and respect for the Korean people.

Video Clips

Secret Mission

Albert Cooper talks about a secret counterintelligence mission alongside two British spies to uncover South Koreans working against American interests. He mentions that while this mission itself bore little fruit, he developed a "love affair with the Korean people."

Tags: Front lines,Impressions of Korea,North Koreans,South Koreans

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gs8Fk-eTJ58&start=937&end=1097

One Last Grenade

Albert Cooper talks about defending a radar station that had come under attack. Alone in a fox hole, he intermittently fired his rifle and threw hand grenades to keep the enemy at bay until he had exhausted his ammunition save one last grenade, which he kept and brought home as a memory of the battle.

Tags: Fear,Front lines,Home front,Weapons

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gs8Fk-eTJ58&start=1754&end=1910

Gift of Food and Spoon

Albert Cooper describes one of his most memorable experiences in Korea. While on patrol, he was invited into a Korean home for rice with beans. Having trouble with chop sticks, an elderly Korean woman gifted him an ancestral spoon. He talks about what that spoon means to him today and the bond between the US and South Korea.

Tags: Food,Impressions of Korea,Living conditions

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gs8Fk-eTJ58&start=1910&end=2248

Proud at Every Bend of the Road

Albert Cooper compares and contrasts the Korea that he left in 1953 with the Korea he revisited in 2009. Amazed at Korea's progress, he describes being "proud at every bend of the road." He says he is most proud that Koreans are happy and prosperous.

Tags: Living conditions,Modern Korea,Poverty,Pride,South Koreans

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gs8Fk-eTJ58&start=2770&end=2880

Photos

Al on Duty

19 year-old Al Cooper “smiles” for a picture while on duty in the winter of 1952 at an advanced U.S. Air Force radar control site near the 38th parallel.

Al on Duty

Korean Traditional Spoons

Korean Traditional Spoons

Korean Traditional Spoons

"Albert and Shirley Cooper. "

A picture of Albert and Shirley Cooper, which was taken in August of 2013.

Al at a Patriotic Gathering

Al Cooper smiles at a patriotic gathering.

Al at a Patriotic Gathering

Al on the Radio Program

Albert Cooper during a typical day hosting his radio program.

Al on the Radio Program

Al on Duty

19 year old Al Cooper “smiles” for a picture while on duty in the winter of 1952 at an advanced U.S. Air Force radar control site near the 38th parallel.

Al on Duty

Lindsey Cooper

Lindsey Cooper, granddaughter of Al Cooper, visits Korean school children during the “grandkids' trip” in 2010 in Korea.

Lindsey Cooper

Sikoshi Joe

Al Cooper holds a homeless Korean boy he and his company had unofficially adopted and took care for near the small village Chi-hyang ri. He and his company named him “Sikoshi Joe.” Sikoshi Joe was one of two or three Korean boys the company took in at the time and provided food, shelter, and love. Taken in Korea, around 1952-53.

Sikoshi Joe