Images of our nation's great naval fleets witnessed as a child during his father's active service with the U.S. Navy burned themselves into the soul of East Liverpool native Daniel L. Cooper and propelled him forward to a distinguished military career.
Cooper has continued to distinguish himself through his nomination and subsequent confirmation as Under Secretary for Benefits in the Department of Veterans Affairs. His nomination for the post came on Feb. 6, 2002, and was followed by his confirmation by the Senate on March 22, 2002. He officially was sworn in and assumed the duties of Under Secretary on April 2, 2002. As Undersecretary, he directs the Veterans Benefits Administration through regional offices in 30 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. He is responsible for the administration of benefits provided by the Department to veterans and dependents including compensation, pension, education, home loan guaranty, vocational rehabilitation and life insurance.
When the Cooper family returned to East Liverpool from the Washington, D.C. area in 1946, Cooper re-entered the East Liverpool City School system. By 1951, he was a star performer on the Potter Football Team coached by Wade Watts. His high school athletic experience was capped off by earning the Bill Booth Award in 1951. After graduating from high school in 1952, Cooper attended Washington & Jefferson College for a year before receiving an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy in 1953. A 1957 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, he earned his Master of Public Administration degree from Harvard University's Littauer School, now the Kennedy School of Government, in 1963.
Following graduation from the academy, Cooper began what would become a 33-year Naval career in the amphibious force. His submarine services began aboard the diesel submarine, USS TRIGGER (SS 564) in 1959. Later he served on USS HADDO (SSN 604); was the Executive Officer on USS SIMON BOLIVAR (SSBN 641) (B); and, in 1972, became Commanding Officer of the USS PUFFER (SSN 652), operating out of Pearl Harbor. From 1976 to 1979, he was Commander of Submarine Squadron TEN in New London, Conn., and from 1986 to 1988, he served as Commander of the Atlantic FleetÕs Submarine Force. In his last assignment, he was the Assistant Chief of Naval Operations for Undersea Warfare.
Following his retirement in 1991, Cooper served as vice president and general manager of the Nuclear Services Division of Gilbert Commonwealth in Reading, Pa. He also participated in several submarine and Navy-related study endeavors, serving on the submarine technical advisory group for the Applied Physics Laboratory at the Johns Hopkins University and as chairman of the advisory board of the Applied Research Laboratory at the Penn State University. He was a director on the Board of USAA, an insurance and financial services company serving primarily military personnel, for ten years. In 1998 he joined the PECO Board of Directors (Philadelphia) and after a merger served on the Board of Directors of Exelon Corporation based in Chicago.
He and his wife, the former Betty Jane Oglivie, are the parents of two daughters.