Silas L. Copeland

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Silas L. Copeland
Slias Copeland.jpg
SMA Silas L. Copeland
Born (1920-04-02)April 2, 1920
Embryfield, Texas
Died December 4, 2001(2001-12-04) (aged 81)
Place of burial Huntsville, Texas
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1942-1973
Rank Sergeant Major of the Army
Battles/wars World War II
Korean War
Vietnam War
Awards Army Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Distinguished Flying Cross
Bronze Star (4)

Silas L. Copeland (April 2, 1920 – December 4, 2001) was the third Sergeant Major of the Army. He was sworn in on October 1, 1970 and served until June, 1973. He was born in Embryfield, Texas (now Staley, Texas), on April 2, 1920, and died December 4, 2001.

Military career[edit]

After serving at various posts in CONUS, he was sent overseas in January 1945 and assigned to Company E, 66th Armored Regiment, 2nd Armored Division, as a tank commander and later a tank platoon sergeant. In late 1945, he returned from Germany and was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, where he became Operations and Intelligence Sergeant of the 67th Tank Battalion and 82d Reconnaissance Battalion. In 1950 he joined the 2d Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, then located in Japan. From there, his unit was moved into Korea on July 18, 1950, making the landing by assault boats. He served as the Reconnaissance and Intelligence Platoon Sergeant and Battalion Operations Sergeant.

From 1951-1953, he was assigned to Senior ROTC duty at Texas A&M University. In 1953 was assigned to the 2d Battalion, 22d Infantry Regiment, Germany, as a first sergeant. He remained with that unit until November 1954 when he was reassigned to the 1st Armored Division at Fort Hood, Texas as Operations Sergeant and Sergeant Major of the 4th Tank Battalion. In 1957 he was selected as an instructor, Senior ROTC, Centenary College of Louisiana at Shreveport, Louisiana. Upon completion of his tour of duty at Centenary, he was assigned to the 3d Reconnaissance Squadron, 8th Cavalry, 8th Infantry Division in Germany as Sergeant Major and remained until he was reassigned to the 2d Armored Division, Fort Hood, Texas in October 1962.

Selected to be the division sergeant major in June 1963, he remained in that position until December 1966 when he was transferred to the 2nd BDE 4th Armored Division in Erlangen, Germany. He was chosen to be the division Command Sergeant Major in April 1968 and served in that capacity until July 1969 when he was assigned to the Republic of Vietnam as the division Command Sergeant major of the 1st Infantry Division (Big Red One). For seven and a half months he performed duties as the division CSM when the 1st Infantry Division re-deployed from Vietnam, he accompanied the division colors to Fort Riley, Kansas. He returned to Vietnam to complete his tour as division CSM of the 4th Infantry Division located in the Central Highlands of Vietnam.

Awards and decorations[edit]

Combat Infantry Badge.svg Combat Infantryman Badge
Army Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Distinguished Flying Cross
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze Star Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Meritorious Service Medal
Award numeral 1.pngAward numeral 4.png Air Medal with award numeral 14
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Army Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Army Good Conduct Medal with 5 silver loops
American Campaign Medal
Bronze star
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with one service star
World War II Victory Medal
Army of Occupation Medal with Germany Clasp
Bronze oak leaf cluster
National Defense Service Medal with oak leaf cluster
Silver star
Korean Service Medal with five service stars
Bronze star
Bronze star
Vietnam Service Medal with two service stars
Vietnam Armed Forces Honor Medal, 2nd Class
Korean Presidential Unit Citation
United Nations Korea Medal
Vietnam Campaign Medal

See also[edit]


 This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Army document "Silas L. Copeland". [1]

Military offices
Preceded by
George W. Dunaway
Sergeant Major of the Army
Succeeded by
Leon L. Van Autreve
  1. ^ Elder, Daniel (2003). The Sergeants Major of the Army. Center of Military History. p. 67.