Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Col. H. C. Copeland, USAF (Ret.)

H.C. Copeland was born in Brady, Texas on February 13, 1931 and passed away in Round Rock, Texas on June 12, 2012, at the age of 81.

H.C. proudly served his country in the United States Air Force.  He was commissioned a Second Lt. on April 30, 1953.  His many duty stations in his early career include Webb AFB, Texas, McGhee Tyson, Tennessee, Fort Knox, Kentucky, Tin City, Alaska, Fairchild AFB, Washington, Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona and Takhli Royal Thai AFB, Thailand.

H.C. was a jet pilot, having earned his wings in April, 1956.  On July 17, 1967 he was piloting a F-105 Thunderchief jet on a mission over North Vietnam when his aircraft was struck by enemy fire.  He was forced to eject from his aircraft and was taken prisoner by the North Vietnamese.  He spent 2068 days in captivity, until his release during Operation Homecoming on March 14, 1973.

Col. Copeland was briefly hospitalized  for his injuries at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas.  He then served on the staff of Headquarters 12th Air Force at Bergstrom AFB in Austin, Texas from August 1973 until his retirement on August 1, 1979.

A memorial service with military honors was held on June 15 at the Cook-Waldren/Capital Parks Funeral Home in Pflugerville, Texas.

In attendance were the Patriot Guard Riders who formed a line of American flags at the entrance to welcome the arriving family and friends.

The service included a slide show of photos of Col. Copeland with his family accompanied by the songs "The Dance", by Garth Brooks. and "Go Rest High on that Mountain" by Vince Gill.

After the service, the flag draped casket was moved to the outside portico, where the Patriot Guard Riders had formed a line of American Flags.  The United States Air Force Honor Guard rendered military honors.

The American flag that draped the casket was carefully folded into the traditional triangle.  The three rifle detail fired three volleys of fire representing Duty, Honor and Country.  A military bugler played taps.

The folded flag was then presented to Col. Copeland's son, Glenn, on behalf of the President of the United States, the Department of the Air Force, and a grateful nation for the faithful and dedicated service of Col. H.C. Copeland.

Graveside services were held on June 16 at Lawnhaven Memorial Gardens in San Angelo, Texas.

Left to cherish  precious memories are his son and his daughter and their spouses, four grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and a host of close friends and other relatives.

With thanks to Cook-Walden/Capital Parks Funeral Home for biographical information and photo.

1 comment:

  1. HC was my friend and neighbor in Tucson
    az. I served with him there. His son called Ricky and my daughter lynn started school together
    chuck powell