Cooper, John, CAPT

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 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Last Primary NEC
630X-Limited Duty Officer - Aviation
Last Rating/NEC Group
Primary Unit
1973-1982, NRC North Hollywood CA
Service Years
1943 - 1982

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Steven Loomis (SaigonShipyard), IC3 to remember Cooper, John (Jackie), CAPT.

If you knew or served with this Sailor and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Contact Info
Home Town
Los Angeles, CA
Last Address
Santa Monica, CA

Date of Passing
May 03, 2011
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

WW II Honorable Discharge Pin Honorable Discharge Emblem (WWII) Recruiting Command of Excellence Recruiter

 Unofficial Badges 

Order of the Shellback US Naval Reserve Honorable Discharge Order of the Golden Dragon Navy Officer Honorable Discharge

 Military Association Memberships
Post 113, Hollywood PostFamous People Who Served
  1946, Jewish War Veterans, Post 113, Hollywood Post (Member) (West Hollywood, California)
  2014, Famous People Who Served [Verified] - Assoc. Page

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Capt. "Jackie" COOPER

Honorary Naval Aviator
Enlisted USN WWII, and Commissioned USNR
Declined promotion to Rear Admiral


AKA John Cooper, Jr.

Born: 15-Sep-1922
Birthplace: Los Angeles, CA
Died: 3-May-2011
Location of death: Santa Monica, CA
Cause of death: Illness

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Actor

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Jackie in Our Gang

Military service: US Navy: enlisted musician. US Naval Reserve: commissioned/aviator and recruiter.

He was also a true American hero - Cooper served in the U.S. Navy in the South Pacific towards the end of World War Two with Claude Thronhill and The Band of the US Navy Liberation Forces. He later became a leading naval recruitment officer in the Naval Reserve.

In the mid-1970s, just before he took on the role in the Superman film, he was promoted to Captain, US Naval Reserve.

The Navy proposed a period of active duty at the Pentagon for Cooper in 1980, which would have resulted in a promotion to Rear Admiral - but he declined the offer so he could concentrate on his directing dreams.

Only one other celebrity, James Stewart, has held a higher military rank.
Cooper went into the US Navy for World War II, he spent part of the war playing drums in a band formed by former civilian bandleader Claude Thornhill that played bases in the South Pacific. He was promoted to the rank of captain.

Jackie served with the Navy in the South Pacific toward the end of World War II. Then, quietly and without publicity or fanfare, compiled one of the most distinguished peacetime military careers of anyone in his profession. In 1961, as his weekly TV series "Hennesey" was enhancing naval recruiting efforts, accepted a commission as a line officer in the Naval Reserve with duties in recruitment, training films and public relations. Holder of a multi-engine pilot license, he later co-piloted jet planes for the Navy, which made him an Honorary Aviator authorized to wear wings of gold--at the time only the third so honored in naval aviation history. By 1976 had attained the rank of Captain, and was in uniform aboard the carrier USS Constellation for the Bicentennial celebration on July 4. In 1980 the Navy proposed a period of active duty at the Pentagon which would have resulted in a promotion to Rear Admiral, bringing him even with Air Force Reserve Brigadier General James Stewart. Fresh on the heels of a second directing Emmy, he felt his absence would impact achieving a long-held goal of directing motion pictures, and reluctantly declined. (The opportunity in films never materialized.) Holds Letters of Commendation from six Secretaries of the Navy. Was honorary chairman of the US Navy Memorial Foundation and a charter member of VIVA, the effort to return POW-MIAs from Vietnam. Upon retirement in 1982 was decorated with the Legion of Merit by Navy Secretary John Lehman. Other than Stewart, no performer in his industry has achieved a higher uniformed rank in the US military. (Glenn Ford was also a Naval Reserve Captain, and director and Captain John Ford was awarded honorary flag rank upon his 1951 retirement from the Naval Reserve.)
Other Comments:
Honorary Naval Aviator
Mr. Jackie Cooper
(Navy Reserve Commander)
Presented by:  VADM Bernard M. Stean
Chief, Naval Air Training

10 Jul 1970
Reason: Active in Navy's PAO program, recruiting and promoting since World War II.

Jackie Cooper and the TV program "Hennesey" (1959-62). He appeared as a Navy doctor in "Hennesey," which he also produced and directed. The Nurse was played by Abby Dalton. 

"Hennesey" was a television show which ran from 1959 to 1962. Jackie Cooper played LTjg (and later LT then LCdr) Hennesey, M.D., USN. Copies of the show are rare because of an agreement stating: the show would never play as reruns. The program proved to be such a draw for Navy Recruiting that Cooper was offered a commission in the Naval Reserves. In 1962 he was commissioned as Lieutenant Commander Jackie Cooper and retired as a Captain.
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Naval Aviator Wings

 Enlisted/Officer Basic Training
  1944, Recruit Training (Great Lakes, IL)
 Duty Stations
School Assignments - StaffNTC (Cadre/Faculty Staff) Great Lakes, ILLUS NavyNaval Media Center (NAVMEDIA)/AFRTS/Armed Forces Network/Broadcasting  (AFN)
Commander Navy Reserve Forces Command (COMNAVRESFORCOM)
  1943-1944, United States Training School (WWII)
  1944-1944, NTC (Cadre/Faculty Staff) Great Lakes, ILL
  1944-1945, MU-0000, The Band of the US Navy Liberation Forces
  1945-1945, MU-0000, Naval Media Center (NAVMEDIA)/AFRTS/Armed Forces Network/Broadcasting (AFN)
  1945-1946, MU-0000, NAB San Pedro, CA
  1946-1961, Broken Service
  1961-1966, NRC North Hollywood CA
  1967-1973, NRC North Hollywood CA
  1973-1982, NRC North Hollywood CA
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1944-1945 World War II
 Colleges Attended 
Notre Dame College of Ohio
  1943-1944, Notre Dame College of Ohio
 Other News, Events and Photographs
  John Cooper, Jr.: aka Jackie Cooper9
  Early childhood
  V-12 training Norte Dame and Great Lakes RTC 1943/19441
  Famous Jewish Sailors
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