My first ever Padres game was when I was in Navy Boot Camp, Navy recruits on the first base side and Marine Corp recruits on the third base side. My friends Jason Weisenburg (USMC) and Peter Gould (USA) have both done tours in Iraq, Jason brother David was killed in Iraq. My dad is a veteran and I have many friends who are vets.
Cooper Brannan was born in Gilbert, AZ and lettered in football and baseball in High School. He graduated in May 2003 and enlisted in the Marine Corp, he graduated from boot camp as the platoon Honor Man. He served two tours in Iraq in February 2004 and in September 2005. He was injured in Fallujah, when he was getting out a flash bang grenade for a comrade, blowing off the pinky finger and medial hand of his left hand (his non pitching hand). He was medevaced eventually ending up at Balboa Hospital in San Diego, he was assigned to Marine Corp Recruit Depot for rehab and while there he played with the Marine Corp Baseball Team and the USA Military All Star Team after his recovery. On November 10, 2006 he and another Marine, Jeff Huben, were at a radio station event celebrating the Marine Corps birthday, when Sandy Alderson showed up. Jeff Huben talked Sandy into giving Cooper a tryout. Sandy, a former Marine, said it was right after the station played the Marine Corp hymn, so it wasn't a hard decision. He had a try out and was throwing around 93 MPH so he was assigned to Peoria in the AZL in 2006. In 2007 and 2008 he played in Eugene. Topps managed to misspell his name on the card. During the 2007 season I sent this card to Cooper at Eugene and he sent it back with a handwritten letter and a photo that he signed for me. I am hoping that he will continue to play in the Padres organization.
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