In 2003, Cooper Brannan, chose the United States Marine Corps over the baseball career everyone thought he would pursue. He graduated from basic training as a platoon honor man, completed infrantry school and was deployed to Iraq in February 2004.
"I enlisted in the Marine Corps for a lot of different reasons," he said. "Number 1 - 9/11, Number 2 - I thought it could help me out with self-respect and the core values: honor, courage, commitment. I was able to achieve that in the Marine Corps."
Baseball was never far from his mind. He packed his glove and ball to take to Iraq and inspired others to have theirs sent over so they could play in their downtime.
In September 2005, Brannan redeployed to Iraq for his second tour. Now, he was in charge of a twelve man platoon. In November, prior to going out on a mission, he reached for a grenade to give to another Marine and it exploded in his hand. He lost three fingers on his left hand. The surgeons were able to reattach his thumb and repair his ring finger, but his pinky was gone.
Fate entered, and Cooper Brannan received a chance to try out for the San Diego Padres and has signed a contract with their minor-league team as a pitcher.
We wish you great fortune in your new life and thank you for your service to our country.
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