John Earl Copeland medals presented to Taina Copeland
On August 29, 2014 - the U.S. Army presented posthumous medals and ribbons to Taina Copeland for her late Grandfather's military service and ultimate sacrifice. On April 10, 1944 John Earl Copeland senior and his crew were shot down in Papau New Guinea.
This past year, his remains and those of his crew were recovered. A forensic genealogist contacted me, and I put her in contact with John Earl Copeland's granddaughter Taina Copeland and with his 92 year old cousin George Clark Copeland (of Springfield MO). DNA was collected and dental records need to be confirmed, but the Army determined that the remains were for John Earl Copeland.
On Aug. 29, Major John Heath joined the Kansas community in recognizing John Earl Copeland's service. A police escort and the Coffeyville American Legion Patriot Guard motorcycle escort led Taina Copeland, family and friends to the Cherryvale Cemetery where John Earl's son and Taina's father - John Earl Copeland JR was buried.
With flags raised and waving in the wind, Major Heath gave a speech and then presented Taina with the Purple Heart, as well as other medals.
Photos of the medals are shown here. Photos of the event will be coming soon.
What an honor and a demonstration of how those who sacrificed are recognized and every effort will be made to return them to the U.S.
In Oct. 2014, Taina and her family will travel to Arlington National Cemetery in Washington DC to witness the burial of John Earl Copeland and his crew members.
A list of his medals: