Fort Lewis soldier dies in Iraq

A Fort Lewis soldier died Wednesday in Iraq from a non-combat-related injury, the Department of Defense said Friday.

Sgt. 1st Class David A. Cooper Jr., 36, of State College, Pa., died in Baghdad. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division at Fort Lewis.

The circumstances surrounding his death are under investigation.

Cooper had a long history with Fort Lewis.

He was assigned to the post in 1997 and served there with the 1st Battalion, 33rd Armor Regiment as an armor crewman; with the 2nd Battalion, 358th Armor Regiment as an observer- controller/trainer; and with the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment as a platoon sergeant.

The 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment later was re- designated 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division (Stryker Brigade Combat Team) and deployed to Iraq in April. Cooper had served with the brigade's 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment since January.

According to unit records, Cooper entered military service in 1988. He reported for his current term of active service in 1994, when he reported to the 520th Maintenance Company in Korea for a one-year tour as a material storage and handling specialist.

In 1995, he reported to Fort Drum, N.Y., where he served as an automated logistical specialist. He reported to Fort Knox, Ky., to attend the Armor Crewmember Qualification Course in 1996.

Cooper's military and civilian education includes the Warrior Leader Course (1995), Basic Non-Commissioned Officer Course (1999), Basic Instructor Training (2001), Hygiene and Sanitation Training (2002), 270 credit hours of Army correspondence coursework, and 66 semester hours of college coursework.

His awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal (five awards), Army Superior Unit Award (two awards), Army Good Conduct Medal (four awards), Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal (two awards), Korea Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon (two awards) and Army Service Ribbon.