Excelling Through Faith, Dedication, and Drive To Serve
For Hospital Corpsman 1st Class David Cooley, a New York City native, his family has a tradition of serving in the military. As a fifth-generation military member, the question more so was which branch would he join, but early on he knew the Navy in particular was his destiny.
Starting in the Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps in high school, it was a natural transition for Cooley into the Navy, where being part of something bigger than himself and serving the nation seemed like the thing to do. Coming from a long line of Marines, soldiers and Sailors, Cooley knew he wanted to be a part of something great.
“I think my number one strength is my will. I don't know how to stop; I don't know how to quit; I don't know how to give up; and the Navy has cultivated these traits,” said Cooley. “Growing up, I really didn't have a whole lot. I was smaller than most kids. Kind of like an underdog, I was always counted out and pushed around, so I developed a toughness and drive that reflects in my work ethic. I never wanted to be looked at as not being able to do something because of my physical stature or mental capability. This motivates me to push harder than anyone else at anything I do.”
Having that thought process and working with many Sailors over the years led Cooley to think ‘what can I do more.’ With his cousins and uncle previously serving as recruiters in the Navy, the answer was staring straight at him. Cooley saw his predecessors' influence and positive affect on so many young lives that it led him to apply to become a recruiter.
“My first and foremost goal as a medical officer recruiter is helping applicants realize their potential,” said Cooley. “A lot of my applicants didn’t even think that they could be a naval officer. For me to be able to help them realize their potential is the most rewarding thing about being a recruiter.”
Each job of course comes with its challenges. While Cooley knew the enlisted side of naval medicine, bringing in future medical officers is a tremendous undertaking. Yet, his “no quitting” attitude paired with the support of the officer recruiting team at Navy Talent Acquisition Group (NTAG) Philadelphia helped him not only achieve his goals but excel and receive much deserved accolades.
“I've been fortunate with the team that I have here. When I first got to recruiting, I didn't know much,” said Cooley. “I've been able to win Medical Officer Recruiter of the Year, Diversity Recruiter and Medical Officer Recruiter of the Quarter several times since I've been on the mission. I have been able to make mission early each time, and that I attribute to our team. In officer recruiting, there are a lot of moving parts. If it wasn't for the team here, I wouldn't even know which way was up. I was able to get those accomplishments thanks to all the great people I have the honor to work with.”
Cooley also did not forget his desire to be a religious program specialist, even though he cherishes his career in the medical field. Working and deploying with Marines, experiencing the camaraderie of the blue-green team and healing physical bodies inspired him to heal spiritually. Religion plays a tremendous role in his life, and in his future, Cooley aspires to become a Navy chaplain. Already active in his local community and church, he serves on a church security team as well as a leadership team for life groups - sessions that help people with issues in their lives deal with stress and day-to-day challenges.
With the “what can I do more” mantra, Cooley fulfills many roles at the command with collateral duties as an Assistant Command Fitness Leader, serving on the Medical Readiness Team and maintaining a support network within the command by leading the Exceptional Family Member Program.
In the end, it’s all about bringing well-informed and motivated new generations of medical officers into the Navy, keeping the mission going, and taking care of Sailors and Marines serving around the world.
“I am proud to educate, prepare and help transition into the Navy someone who's going to take care of my brothers and sisters when I'm gone. No matter how long you stay in the Navy, it is not forever,” said Cooley. “We need to constantly have new, talented and bright individuals coming in, so they can fill our roles and improve our Navy’s future.”
NTAG Philadelphia encompasses regions of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and West Virginia providing recruiting services from more than 30 talent acquisition sites.
Navy Recruiting Command consists of a command headquarters, three Navy Recruiting Regions, 26 NTAGs, and 64 Talent Acquisition Onboarding Centers (TAOCs) that serve more than 1,000 recruiting stations around the world. Their mission is to attract the highest quality candidates to assure the ongoing success of America’s Navy.