O'Fallon Progress

O’Fallon native serves aboard Navy warship

Corey Cooper is an O’Fallon native serving on the USS Little Rock.
Corey Cooper is an O’Fallon native serving on the USS Little Rock.

A 2005 O’Fallon Township High School graduate and O’Fallon native provides key support as part of combat operations aboard USS Little Rock.

Petty Officer 1st Class Corey Cooper is a Navy fire controlman aboard the guided-missile cruiser.

A fire controlman is responsible for providing weapon direction systems employment recommendations; performing organizational and intermediate maintenance on digital computer equipment, subsystems, and systems; operating and maintain combat and weapons direction systems, surface-to-air and surface-to-surface missile systems, and gun fire control systems at the organizational and intermediate level.

“My favorite part about being a fire controlman, the Navy has put me through a lot of schools that I will be able to use later in life,” Cooper said.

Cooper credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in O’Fallon.

“My hometown lessons taught me to never quit and I brought that attitude into my Navy career,” Cooper said.

U.S. Navy sailors, like Cooper, are stationed both stateside and on the high seas aboard surface ships around the world. Little Rock is one of more than 60 ships on the East Coast of the United States as part of Naval Surface Forces, U.S. Atlantic Fleet.

U.S. Navy ships are deployed globally, and their presence helps the Navy control the sea. Sea control is vital to project power, secure common areas, deter aggression and assure allies when and where desired.

Due to its extensive combat capability, Little Rock is able to fire Tomahawk Cruise Missiles and other weapons as part of sustained combat operations against targets on and below the sea, in addition to hitting targets hundreds of miles over the land.

The ship is equipped with the Aegis Combat System, which integrates the ship’s electronic sensors and weapons systems to defend against anti-ship missile threats. The ship’s air search and fire control radar provides continuous search and tracking of hundreds targets simultaneously.

The crew of more than 400 sailors build a strong fellowship while working alongside each other. The sailors are highly motivated, and quickly adapt to changing conditions as part of a busy life of specialized work, watches and drills.

“Because I serve in the Navy not only am I financially stable but my son is financially stable and my country is safe,” Cooper said.

Though there are many ways for a sailors to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, Cooper is most proud of retiring at 38 years old. “That is the best thing the Navy has allowed me to do,” said Cooper.

“The most rewarding thing for me is to teach junior sailors how to do their job and make sure the crew is safe,” Cooper said.

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Cooper and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes, one that will provide a critical component of the Navy the nation needs.

“Serving in the Navy means honor, courage and commitment,” Cooper said.