Friday, April 3, 2015

John Earl Copeland buried in Arlington National Cemetery March 18, 2015

Home at last! The remains of John Earl Copeland and his fellow crew members were laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on March 18, 2015.

The crew of "Hot Garters" had been shot down on April 14, 1944. They are all HOME 71 years later - thanks to the U.S. Army.

John Earl's granddaughter and her mother and daughter accompanied her at the funeral.

Details can be found here:

Stars and Stripes article


The Washington Post

May you Rest In Peace - Home, Home at last!



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Saturday, January 17, 2015

John Earl Copeland to be Buried in Arlington National Cemetery

In April 2015, Taina Copeland of Olathe, KS will travel to Arlington National Ceremony to witness the buriel of her grandfather John Earl Copeland and 9 fellow soldiers who were shot down and killed on April 18, 1944 in New Guinea.

Watch the video interview with Taina and read the online news article for more information.

This is exciting news and the culmination of years of searching and recovery by the US Military - they don't leave our soldiers behind!

Interview with Taina Copeland about Grandfather John Earl Copeland

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Earlene Koons went to Heaven on October 20, 2014. I am sure that her beloved husband Melvin Koons was waiting for her at Heaven's Gate. We will miss you, dear friend.

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Adopt-a-Grave at Henri-Chappell American Cemetery Belgium

In September 2014, there was an Adopt-a-Grave ceremony at the Henri-Chappell American Cemetery in Belgium.

My friend Maxime Noel - a Mallon (from southern Belgium) military scholar and researcher - attended because he had adopted the grave of Duane Miller McKay. Duane was my late father's cousin, and Duane was killed on Dec. 14, 1944 after the Battle of the Bulge. He had survived the Battle, but was captured, and then with 149 other prisoners - he was shot and killed by the SS.

Duane Miller McKay's grave is in the Henri-Chappell American Cemetery, which contains the remains of almost 8,000 American military who gave their lives during WWII.

Max has provided these photos of the adoption certificate, the cross, a closeup of a flier he took to show others the photo of Duane Miller McKay, the ceremony, the monument, and the field of crosses.

Thank you, Max!

Max writes this:

"I have some relevant information: only two soldiers of the 106th Infantry Division were buried in the Fosse #1 temporary cemetery (2199 graves) (an infantry division - about 16000 men), which was separated in three regiments - for the 106th: they are the 422th Inf Rgt, the 423th Inf Rgt, and the 424th Inf Rgt).

Duane was one of the two soldiers, and the second was Pfc Russel Perri  from West Virginia
(Find A Grave Memorial# 125173136). It is surprising that there are only two solders there!!

I have been preparing lists sorted out by units.

For the 82th Airborne division there are five soldiers; then for the 101th airborne division there are about 20 soldiers, for the 3rd armored division, the 28th Infantry Division,  the 4th infantry division, the 30th infantry division, there are more than 100 in each !!

I have also found that a small monument was built for the men of the 424 Inf Rgt 106 Inf Division in the small village of Ennal (Belgian Luxembourg I think). This village was liberated by this regiment on 15 January 1945 ... "

Once again, thank you for this valuable information, Max!

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Saturday, September 6, 2014

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.

*Photo from Montgomery County Chronicle Facebook Page

From the Montgomery County Chronicle - Sept. 3, 2014

*Medal photos from Taina Copeland and Linda Hammer

A list of his medals:

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Thursday, August 21, 2014


Last year, I was contacted by a forensic genealogist who saw my information about John Earl Copeland. I put her in touch with John Earl's cousin George Clark Copeland (then age 92) and John Earl Copeland's  granddaughter Taina Copeland, so that DNA samples could be collected and compared to remains found in New Guinea. A year later - success! John Earl Copeland's remains have been identified and will be buried in Arlington Cemetery. On Aug. 29, Taina and her daughter Belinda will receive John Earl Copeland's medals and ribbons at the Cherryvale Cemetery where her father, John Earl Copeland JR is buried. So wonderful to know that my genealogy work and outreach has helped bring John Earl Copeland home!

From the Montgomery Chronicle, Kansas.

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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Duane Miller McKay's cross in the Henri Chappelle Cemetery

Maxime (Max) Noel works recording the histories of the military of all nations buried in cemeteries in Belgium. He has adopted Duane M. McKay's grave. Thank you, Max, for sending these photos and for your hard work preserving the memories and histories of those who fought and died in Belgium.