Featured Story: In the Family

David Copeland being sworn in by his father
David Copeland being sworn in by his father

If I had to sum up my family in one word I might have to choose “Army” because it is what defines us. Since 27 June 1996 we have had a minimum of two family members on active duty and will continue to for a minimum of three more years. Between me, my Dad, my sister and brother we have seven combat deployments, one tour in Vietnam, one in Desert Storm and five in Iraq. Next year I hope to be able to add Afghanistan to the list, Lord willing.

My father Stan was originally drafted into the Army and sent to Vietnam as a Combat Medic / Huey door-gunner. After a couple of years he left the Army for civilian life and became a preacher. It was while he was out that I and my two brothers and sister were born. After about 12 years he came back into the Army as a Chaplain. In 2001 he was retired against his wishes. This year he was voluntarily recalled to active duty and is stationed in Germany.

In 1996 I graduated from Manhattan High School and promptly joined the Army. This meant that our family now had two members in the Army. I came in as a Heavy Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic (63S) and have had the opportunity to see the world. On Sept 11 this year I became a Warrant Officer and my father was there to swear me in, just as he did when I enlisted. I am currently doing some Army schooling in Maryland and will be moving to Ft. Drum early next year. (The last 13 years has been an adventure and I hope to make it 17 more before retiring.)

My younger sister was the smart one in the family and she went to West Point. She graduated in 2002 and continues to serve to this day. My younger brother joined out of high school like I did and served for five years. He was an 88M truck driver officially but his last two years he served as a Chaplains assistant.

Due to overseas assignments and deployments we have not managed to have everyone home for Thanksgiving or Christmas since 1995, we always seem to be missing one. Thank goodness for phones and e-mail.

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