Copeland, Silas L., SMA

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Last Rank
Sergeant Major Of The Army
Last Service Branch
Sergeant Major of the Army
Last Primary MOS
00Z-Command Sergeant Major AR
Last MOS Group
Armor (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1970-1973, Office of the Sergeant Major of the Army (OSMA)
Service Years
1942 - 1973

Sergeant Major Of The Army

Ten Service Stripes

Six Overseas Service Bars

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Ramsey Kubiak-Family to remember Copeland, Silas L. (3rd SMA), SMA USA(Ret).

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Contact Info
Home Town
Embryville, TX
Last Address
Conroe, TX

Date of Passing
Dec 04, 2001
Location of Interment
Oakwood Cemetery - Huntsville, Texas
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

Army Staff Identification US Army Retired (Pre-2007)

 Unofficial Badges 

Armor Shoulder Cord

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Silas L. Copeland 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 following a brief illness in Conroe, Texas.

Military career


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 4th Armored Division in 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

Sergeant Major Copeland's awards and decorations include the Disinguished Service Medal,  Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star (with V Device and four oak leaf clusters), Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal (with award numeral 4, Army Commendation Medal (with oak leaf cluster), Good Conduct Medal (with silver loop and knots), American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Army of Occupation Medal (Germany), National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal and the Combat Infantryman Badge.

Foreign unit and individual decorations include the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, the Vietnam Service Medal (with two campaign stars), Vietnam Armed Forces Honor Medal (2nd class), United Nations Korean Medal, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal,

Other Comments:
Not Specified

 Ribbon Bar

Combat Infantryman 1st Award

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
1st Battalion, 66th Armor 2nd Armored Division67th Tank Battalion1st Armored Division
82nd Armored Reconnaissance Battalion2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry (Airmobile) 1st Cavalry Division HQ, US Army Cadet Command
2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry 4th Tank Battalion8th Infantry Division3rd Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment
4th Armored Division1st Infantry Division4th Infantry DivisionDepartment of the Army (DA)
  1945-1945, HHC, 1st Battalion, 66th Armor
  1945-1945, 2nd Armored Division
  1946-1948, 67th Tank Battalion
  1946-1950, 1st Armored Division
  1948-1950, 82nd Armored Reconnaissance Battalion
  1950-1951, 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry (Airmobile)
  1950-1951, HHC, 1st Cavalry Division
  1951-1953, ROTC Texas A&M University (Cadre), HQ, US Army Cadet Command
  1953-1954, HHC, 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry
  1954-1957, 1st Armored Division
  1954-1957, 4th Tank Battalion
  1957-1960, HQ, US Army Cadet Command
  1960-1962, 8th Infantry Division
  1960-1962, 3rd Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment
  1962-1966, 2nd Armored Division
  1966-1969, 4th Armored Division
  1969-1970, 1st Infantry Division
  1970-1970, 4th Infantry Division
  1970-1973, Department of the Army (DA)
  1970-1973, Office of the Sergeant Major of the Army (OSMA)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1945-1945 WWII - European Theater of Operations/Central Europe Campaign (1945)
  1945-1945 WWII - European Theater of Operations/Central Europe Campaign (1945)/Victory in Europe Day (VE Day - 8May45)
  1950-1951 Korean War
  1950-1950 Korean War/UN Offensive (1950)/Eighth Army Offensive
  1951-1951 Korean War/First UN Counteroffensive (1951)/Battle of the Imjin River
  1968-1968 Vietnam War/Tet Counteroffensive Campaign (1968)
  1968-1968 Vietnam War/Tet Counteroffensive Campaign (1968)
  1968-1968 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase IV Campaign (1968)
  1968-1968 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase V Campaign (1968)
  1968-1969 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase VI Campaign (1968-69)
  1969-1969 Vietnam War/Tet 69 Counteroffensive Campaign
  1969-1969 Vietnam War/Summer-Fall 1969 Campaign
  1969-1970 Vietnam War/Winter-Spring 1970 Campaign
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