Woodbury County

Pfc. Lee Cooper




Jack Frisbee, son of Mr. and Mrs. Russell Frisbee of McCook Lake, South Dakota, and Lee Cooper, son of Mr. and Mrs. Harold Cooper, 3015 Stone Park boulevard, have been advanced to the rank of private first class in the Marine Corps.  They are stationed somewhere in the Pacific.

Source: The Sioux City Journal, June 15, 1943

Pfc. Lee Cooper of the Marines is in Sioux City on furlough for the first time since he entered service in September, 1942.  The son of Mr. and Mrs. Harold L. Cooper, 3015 Stone Park boulevard, he wears battle stars for action on the Russell islands, New Georgia and Guam.

It is just as easy to be killed getting off a streetcar in Sioux City as it is fighting Japs with the Marines in the South Pacific—at least that’s what Pfc. Lee Cooper, home after more than two years overseas, asserts.

According to Lee’s story, he had no unusual experiences and no narrow escapes in the South Pacific, but just the same he has campaign ribbons that belie his words.

First of all he wears a ribbon that represents a personal commendation from Lt. Gen. Griswold of the United States Army, which was presented to him by the general on New Georgia.  The award is ranked 11th from the top of awards given by the government, but as to how the Sioux City marine earned the ribbon, he just “can’t remember.”

Lee is also entitled to wear a ribbon representing a presidential unit citation, the American theater ribbon, and the Asiatic-Pacific ribbon, bearing three stars for three major engagements—the Russell islands, New Georgia and Guam.

His First Furlough.
The son of Mr. and Mrs. Harold L. Cooper, 3015 Stone Park boulevard, Lee attended Central high school before he enlisted in the Marines in September, 1942.  He received basic training at San Diego, Cal., and went overseas in November, 1942.  This is his first furlough since entering service.

Lee enlisted in the Marines with Jack Frisbie, and the two boys were together until the summer of 1943.  Jack was in Sioux City on furlough about two months ago.  Another Sioux City boy, Earl Potter, 2901 ½  Correctionville road, came back to the United States on the same ship as Lee, which returned to the States early this month.

Lee has been serving as a member of the Third amphibious group, United States Marines, and before that was a member of the Ninth Defense battalion, being assigned to a gun crew.  While he was at Munda, Maj. Bill Gibbons, Sioux City, was operations officer.

The Marines and the natives on the South Pacific islands got along very well, said the Sioux City Marine.  The natives worked for a stated wage of $3.60 a week, he said, and built huts, did washing, and all types of work for the Marines.

Saw Bob Hope Show
Only special entertainment seen by him while the in the South Pacific was the Bob Hope show, which was given while he was in an evacuation hospital with malaria.  The Marines saw up-to-date movies, and listened to home radio programs broadcast by short wave.

As to the Japanese and their fighting ability, Lee said only that the Jap soldier doesn’t care what happens to himself, and has no regard for his personal safety.

Source: The Sioux City Journal, January 21, 1945 (photo included)