Cope, Eugene

Eugene Cope was born on 9 June 1934 in Texas. He entered the service in 1954, training as an ammunition handler in the US Army. In 1968, SFC Cope was assigned to the 44th Ordnance Detactment (EOD) in Vietnam. On 5 August 1968, SFC Cope was assisting with the destruction of a large quantity of old, abandoned military munitions recovered from Viet Cong locations in Dau Tieng. Two man outposts had been set up around the site for security. The munitions were wired with demolition charges and the fuses were pulled, with 5 minutes timers. At that moment, a team member noticed that two of the guards from the outposts were approaching the demolition site. SFC Cope, with complete disregard for his own safety, ran to the guards and pulled them into a small crater where they remained as the tons of munitions exploded. All of the guards recived minor wounds and ringing ears, but were safe due to SFC Cope's actions. For his heroic actions on this date, SFC Eugene Cope was awarded the nation's highest award for heroic action not concerning direct encounter with enemy, the Soldier's Medal. In 1969, SFC Cope was assigned to the 269th Ordnance Detachment (EOD). On 26 March 1969, after the enemy had hit the Dong Tam Ammunition Supply Point, SFC Cope volunteered to ride iwth the Military Police patrol to assist with casulaty evacuation and damage control efforts. Large quantities of unexploded and still smouldering ordnance were scattered throughtout the area creating a great hazard to the soldiers working the site. For several hours, SFC Cope worked within the blast range of the ammunition to clear the area of the dangerous munitions. With only the light of the still burning ammunition dump and illumination flares to guide him, SFC Cope effectively and quickly cleared the area of the dangerous munitions. For his heroic actions on this date, SFC Eugene Cope was awarded the Army Commendation Medal with V Device.

After serving as Senior Ammunition Noncommissioned Officer, Material Systems Division, Directorate of Combat Developments, United States Army Missile School, Sergeant Major Cope retired from the US Army and remained in the Huntsville, Alabama area.