By Garry M. Graves
What makes a guy, a guy? How will we degree a man?
James Robert Copeland lives this present day in occasion of our country’s enduring freedom. JR’ (as he loves to be called), enlisted within the military the day after Pearl Harbor and he used to be mad as hell. in general, while your two decades outdated and the son of a coal mining kinfolk from West Virginia, a significant lifestyles doesn’t manifest itself on a silver platter. JR’ isn't commonplace in any regard. together with his 8th grade schooling he used to be singled out to guide males less than his command to defense alongside the berms of Omaha seashore, Normandy, France, D-Day, June 6, 1944. Shot in each one leg he led his males throughout a German minefield, with no wasting a man.
It was once a terrible day — yet Ranger Copeland had a mission.
JR’ Copeland, employees Sergeant, fifth Ranger Infantry Battalion had an obligation to his state. He did it with delight and function and lots of gusto. How JR’ grew to become a heroic chief of fellows is that this tale; his upbringing, his relations, his ideals, all contributed to what might turn into a magnanimous man or woman. JR’ Copeland, 89, nonetheless celebrates at the present time.
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Extra info for Bloody Omaha: My Remembrances of That Day
He tried to be accommodating to the Army and in a generally good disposition throughout the entire process. “Overall, I would say I had a pretty good time of it,” JR’ said. “Sure it was tough, but I was used to tough. ” After basic training JR’ was attached to the 35th Division, with his first duty station only eight miles down Highway 101 from Camp Roberts. ” Infantry Training Center—Camp Roberts, California Two soldiers erecting “Pup Tent” at Camp Roberts (These photos were post cards used by soldiers to mail home) Circa early 1940’s Guest House used for visitors at Camp Roberts Soldier-trainee’s gathering for “field” mess (lunch).
The channel tides were strong and reeking havoc on any previously assigned landing positions. The tide movement combined with heavy battle and fire smoke caused Colonel Rudder’s 2nd Rangers to miss Pointe du Hoc all together, instead almost landing at Pointe de la Percée. The error had caused a thirty minute delay in landing at the correct beach, which was Pointe du Hoc. “Most things that day went wrong for us,” JR’ said smiling. The commander of the 5th Ranger Battalion was Colonel Max Schneider’.
He went on to tell me how he came to own the ‘37 Harley Flathead. JR’ was delivering ice one day around the town of Oak Hill, West Virginia (See map, page 23). He happened to be downtown, when he spotted this motorcycle parked in front of the local bank building. ’ JR’ went inside the same bank this man came out of and got some cash. They completed the deal within ten minutes and JR’ became the proud owner of his very first (of many) Harley-Davidson motorcycles. He was thrilled beyond belief. “Had to have the guy teach me how to start it,” he remembers.