Wyatt, 18 years old, was diagnosed with Aplastic Anemia in 2013. Hoping to follow in his family’s footsteps, Wyatt was crushed to discover that his hope to become an Army Ranger would not be realized in the near future. As Wyatt was no longer able to participate in strenuous physical tasks, such as mowing the lawn, he knew that the 75th Ranger Regiment’s rigorous training would be too much for his body.
When his Wish Granters met with him for his initial wish visit, Wyatt immediately knew that his wish was to be an Army Ranger. In his letter to Make-A-Wish, Wyatt wrote: “Army Rangers are some of the toughest warriors our planet has to offer. Rangers are an elite breed…I would be greatly honored and happy to wear the famed Ranger Tab. Rangers can be anywhere in the world in 18 hours or less making them the quickest reaction force in the U.S.”
After hearing about Wyatt’s story, Major Tony Mayne from the 75th Ranger Regiment worked with Make-A-Wish and the Branson Fire Department to make Wyatt’s wish come true. Staff Sergeant Nicholas Cunningham and Sergeant 1st Class Jason St. John traveled all the way from their base in Ft. Benning, Georgia to put together Wyatt’s wish day.
After completing a series of challenges, Wyatt was promoted until he reached the top rank of Sergeant 1st Class. Sgt. 1st Class St. John said “Cooper has all the traits we look in for an Army Ranger…this event is in my personal top-three in my experiences.” At the conclusion of his training, Wyatt received the Tan Beret and Scroll from the 75th Ranger Regiment. Wyatt said that his wish day “exceeded [his] expectations.” “I can’t put this feeling into words. But I know it is a good feeling.” His grandmother, Rhonda Johnson, expressed her joy by stating “You can’t slap the smile off my face.”
Wyatt graduated from Branson High School in May and will be a freshman at the College of the Ozarks in the fall. He plans to major in criminal justice but still has his sights on the Army. Wyatt says, “If I’m ever healthy enough I want to try to get back into the Army.”