Memorial Day Ceremony

Monday, May 29, 2023
Many thanks to all who supported our Memorial Day Ceremony on Monday, May 29. We are deeply grateful to our volunteers who make this ceremony possible. Special thanks to Master Chief (SEAL) Dave Cooper, USN (Ret.) who served as our keynote speaker. You can watch the ceremony in its entirety here.

Master Chief (SEAL) Dave Cooper, USN (Ret.)

Keynote Speaker

Master Chief (SEAL) Dave Cooper, USN (Ret.)

Dave Cooper was born and raised in Manheim, PA. In 1987 he earned a BS (emphasis in Molecular Biology) and entered the military that same year specifically to become a US Navy SEAL. During his 25-year career, Dave spent nearly nineteen of those at the prestigious Naval Special Warfare Development Group, conducting combat operations throughout Eastern Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.

Dave’s early operational history includes deployments in support of Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM. In 1993, he was selected for the Naval Special Warfare Development Group. From 1994 to 2012, he completed dozens of deployments, both in and out of major theaters of war, to include such places as Haiti, Bosnia, Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Iraq. He has led extensively in combat at all levels and has executed missions spanning the full gamut of Naval Special Warfare capabilities.

During his tenure at the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, Dave and his teammates successfully executed some of the most significant Special Operations missions in the history of the U.S. Military. From September 2009 to September 2011, Dave served as the Command Master Chief of this storied unit. In a role that took him from the battlefield one minute to the interagency boardroom the next, Dave’s influence, interpersonal skills and leadership were instrumental to the unparalleled success of this elite unit.

For his distinguished service, Dave was awarded numerous unit and personal awards, to include a Silver Star, 6 Bronze Stars with “V” devices, 2 Distinguished Meritorious Service Medal, 2 Meritorious Service Medals, 4 Presidential Unit Citations and numerous other joint and individual awards. As Dave proudly notes: Every medal we wear on our chests belongs in no small part to our teammates, because it’s from our teammates—and for them—that we draw our measure of courage.

After retiring, Dave earned his master’s degree at the University of Oxford and HEC Paris. He is currently pursuing a PhD in complex adaptive systems science—where physics meets biology—at Arizona State University’s College of Global Futures. Dave is currently the founder of Verge, a boutique coaching and consulting company whose mission blends the concepts gleaned from complex systems science to form a unique brand of organizational health consulting and coaching. The company’s mission, quite simply, is to blend the science of complexity with the art of complexity—how one contends with it, that is—that organizations and people might become more responsive, resilient, and sustainable together.

Dave is also featured in the best-selling book The Culture Code, a story of some of the most innovative leaders and researchers in the U.S. He is married to the inimitable Ms. Sonia Cooper, the Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer of Sentara Princess Anne Hospital. The couple has 3 boys, ages 18, 14, and 11.