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SGT Grit & Jar heads,

Tony in Sadams Palace '03 Starting out in life I guess I was destine to be in the Marine family.
I regretfully could never follow in my namesakes foot steps. (Born with a hip problem, I was not military material.) I was born 11/1970 and named after my Uncle Gerald “Jerry” Przybylinski,(CPL BTRY H12 MAR 3 MAR DIV VIETNAM PH {DOB 11-10-48 DOD 2-25-69}) who was killed in ‘Nam as he was on a communications tower. There are several heroic stories of how he was killed … but to me it doesn’t matter.. he is, as all Marines, a hero. His best friend in the corp became my Dad, Jimmy Joe Shelton. (I have no memory of him and just found out he is a Marine and still alive, I think).

On to the good news… On 9/18/08 I met Gunnery Sergeant Anthony “Tony” Cooper. He had returned from his THIRD tour in Iraq in May of 2008.( A Marine of 15 years) Returning to civilian life much faster than each time before, life was a blur of work and bills for him. He had a new mission upon his return home… to find someone to love and have a real family for him and his son. By Gods grace we were both on Eharmony. I was getting ready to leave the sight after a couple of failed meetings.

FF at wedding By chance I scanned the list once more looking for ??? something.
Tony’s information caught my eye. I fast tracked him a quick note telling him I was soon leaving the sight and my cell number with what time I was off work. The first time we talked on the phone it lasted for 5 1/2 hours. We only hung up because my cell was almost a blaze. I bit the bullet … (50 cal is more like it!) and offered to help him install his new hot water heater. After a long drive and questioning my judgement about meeting a guy 45 minutes away from my home in his basement in the middle of the woods… I pulled into his drive. As I walked down the stairs I saw a dirty, sweaty, redneck with a haircut that was high and tight …. I was in LOVE! He made me dinner and I gave him a shoulder massage. He had his Marine gear and plaques and EAG stuff scattered around his home. I barely knew him but I was so proud of him as a few stories of all the places he has been stationed came out. He had weekend warriors that weekend. It was awful for me… I couldn’t talk to him… see him… Did I really want to be involved with a guy who could call and say I’m shipping out on… at any moment????? To my surprise a knock on my door at 9 p.m. Sunday… It was Tony!! I missed you he said. To make a long story very short…… on April fools day 2009 we talked about getting hitched ..yeah fyeonto (Yes If you want to) went back and forth… after a couple of minutes he disappeared into his work room and came out with a heart shaped ring out of wire. We’ll find you a ring later…he said.. It was perfect!!

On 8/22/09 we made it all legal. My 3 children and Tony’s son were in the wedding. We had planned to get married with all 150 Marines from Peoria post in attendance. RIGHT!! Well as we all know when it come to the Marine Corp don’t plan it just do it. Most of the guys were called off to train and prepare for deployment to Afghanistan. It was horrible news for Tony he wanted his buddies there to share this with them. I had planned to have 30 or so guys come running from the tree line in full gear to field f**k him after the I DOs. All the guys that were able to come did FF him at the end of the Isle. It was great!!! He had NO idea I had planned it. Every Marine I’ve met say we are perfect for each other. I’m almost as crazy as he is and they say he must really love me.. he said hell would freeze over before he’d ever marry again… (I’m making a sweater for the devil -and making sure the note says SEMPER FI). Our colors were Red , White and Blue and our gift to our guests were dog tags that say: RED WHITE BLUE TONY & GERI COOPER SEMPER FI 8-22-09.

I look on the DOD list every morning hoping not to see one of “our guys”. I have told Tony If he wants to “share the fight” he has my blessing. How could I ever keep a jar head from being the first to fight. He is currently inactive..semi retired… whatever you call it. His gear is still ready to go just inside the closet door. I am glad I wasn’t with him for the three trips to Iraq. I would’ve gone insane. I don’t know how everyone does it. Inside Tony’s wedding band I had inscribed “SEMPER FI, Love Geri”. If He ever decides to go I will not be on the “wall of shame”!!

I just have to thank all the Marines for keeping me and my family safe. And to the Corp for making My GySgt the best he can be. Thanks to my Marine I’m a FOID card holder. I scared an attacker off me and out of our home. I’m no longer scared of guns.

Jar Heads at wedding and 1 Army Ranger GySgt Cooper is an engineer/demolition w Marines and an Ironworker at home. He has designed several mounts for the corp and lead his men proudly. Guys were hit in the first wave into Iraq. Ty Zegal and several guys were severely wounded. You all know him from 20/20 and Time mag. I know him as a friend and a great marine, as well as the other guys from that day. Please keep on Supporting our guys and girls out there in the fight all over the world. My family has served in all branches of the military. I am proud of them all….. but on my Illinois licence’s plate it says OOHRAH !!

Photos attached are : 1)Tony in Sadams Palace ’03 2)FF at wedding 3)Jar Heads at wedding and 1 Army Ranger Semper FI !!!
Geri Cooper

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