Hartselle’s David Pope lives dream as a Marine
The 9-11 terrorist attack on the United States left a lasting impression with David Pope when he was a student at F. E. Burleson Elementary School.
“He had a dream to be a marine after 9-11” said his mother, Kelly Cooper, of Hartselle. “He was so moved by what happened, he didn’t want to go outside and play because of a fear of what might happen to him.”
Pope began living his dream last week after graduating from Marine Corps basic training at Parris, Island, S.C. He completed a 13-week cycle of intensive training during which he earned the Expert Medal for proficiency on the firing range.
Cooper and her other son, Maguire, witnessed the graduation ceremony. Afterwards, they and their son and brother returned to Hartselle to begin a 10-day furlough. They also met at a local restaurant for a welcome home dinner on Saturday. It was attended by family members and close friends.
Pope left for basic training July 6 after talking to U.S. Army recruiters. Both his father and grandfather served in the U.S. Army. He opted for the Marine Corps after talking to one of its recruiters.
“He was really excited when he called me from the recruiter’s office and told me he had been accepted,” said his mother.
He told me: “I’ve got my chance and I’m going to make the most of it.”
Pope is on orders to report to a military post in California for advanced marine training at the end of his furlough. He is also scheduled for six to eight weeks of additional training at 29 Palms, Calif.