CW5 David F. Cooper distinguished himself through conspicuous gallantry in action while serving as an AH-6 Flight Lead pilot, operating against an enemy force northeast of Taji Iraq on 27 November 2006.
His aggressive actions, complete disregard for his personal safety, and extreme courage under fire resulted in him single-handedly repelling the enemy attack.
This enemy was more mobile than the ground force, had significantly larger weapon systems, and greatly out-numbered them.
After landing to assist his wingman who had crashed after sustaining significant damage to his tail rotor from hostile fire, CW5 Cooper and his co-pilot moved to their aircraft under direct enemy fire and took off in order to better assess the situation and provide much-needed suppression on the enemy forces.
With complete disregard for his safety and in the face of heavy anti-aircraft fire, CW5 Cooper flew his lone aircraft directly at the enemy and began to engage them.
He continued to make multiple passes at the enemy, initially destroying multiple gun trucks and killing at least ten enemy personnel.
Though well aware that his chances of getting shot down were very high, he refueled and rearmed using stores from his downed wingman’s aircraft and continued to fly multiple gun runs straight into the heavy machine gun fire placing devastating fires upon the enemy.
If not for CW5 Cooper’s actions, the ground force would have become decisively engaged and would certainly have taken heavy casualties.
For his actions he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and is the only currently serving aviator to have received this award.