Navy Memorabilia

Cooper, Stuart T.

Rank: Lieutenant, US Navy
Serial Number: O-083199
Military Branch: VP-51/VP-101
Origin: Rhode Island
Date of Death: 1943-2-14
Manila American Cemetery
Featured: No

Stuart Trumble Cooper was born in Plainfield, Connecticut on August 20, 1917. Cooper was educated at South Kingston High School and was a 1939 graduate of Rhode Island State College. He was accepted as an Aviation Cadet September 19, 1939. He was designated Ensign on June 4, 1940, LTJG on May 28, 1942, Lieutenant October 1, 1942.

The group includes Lt. Cooper's officially engraved posthumous Type 3 Purple Heart and its short title presentation case; Victory medal, American Campaign medal and Distinguished Flying Cross. Also included is a small portrait of Cooper in uniform, a wedding photo of Cooper and his wife Phiyllis, a Purple Heart Accolade with mailing tube, and an accolade from the town of Narraganset, Rhode Island.

Lt. Stuart T. Cooper was awarded the Purple Heart and the Distinguished Flying Cross. Lt. Cooper was a pilot of a PBY on June 6, 1942 when he performed the rescue of the crew of an Army Air Corps 72nd Bomb Squadron that went down. He rescued the following: Capt. Glen H. Kramer, 2nd Lt. Raphael Bloch, Jr., 2nd Lt. John D. Crawford, S/Sgt Walter J. Mroozko, Sgt John W. Bruce, Sgt Marshall J. Enstrom, Sgt James R. Weed, and Cpl Gary C. Hollister. For their mission at Midway, Kramer, Engstrom, and Hollister received the Silver Star, and Bloch received the Distinguished Flying Cross and Silver Star. The book "American Heroes of the War in the Air" lists the Kramer and Hollister awards. 

On February 14, 1943, off the coast of Southern Bougainville Island. nine PB4Y-1 aircraft fully armed, bombs and ammunition, bombed and sank a large enemy transport and a destroyer from 22,000 feet altitude. Soon after, came 50 to 60 enemy fighters from Kahili airfield to intercept the bombers and their cover. The top cover consisted of 4 Army P-38's and the lower cover consisting of Navy F6F's and Marine Corps Corsairs (F4U). The Marine Corsair was in combat for the first time in this mission. Two PB4Y-1 Bombers — 101-B-3 and 101-B-4 and entire crews were shot down. Cooper's plane had all the photographic equipment for the mission and he was one of the losses with the entire crew listed as MIA. The entire top cover was destroyed and six of the lower cover aircraft were destroyed. It was reported by observers that the enemy lost 26 aircraft in this fight. This "skirmish" was named in most military history books as the "Saint Valentines Day Massacre". The losses for both sides were very heavy for the day.

Lt. Cooper was awarded the DFC April 30, 1947 "For numerous combat flights during the periods June 1 to 9, 1942 and January 27, 1943 to February 14, 1943; and for the Daylight Bombardment of Bougainville on February 14, 1943." His Purple Heart award is dated January 22, 1946.

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