The following was submitted by Mary Smith on behave of her father. The article concerns her father,
Sgt. Ray J. Copeland. The original article appeared in the Cleveland, Pawnee Co. paper and Tulsa
Daily World. Unfortunately, at this time, there is no date when the original article appeared.
from Cleveland Paper
Sgt. Ray J. Copeland, who already proudly wears the Purple Heart for having been wounded in action, will receive his second hero's medal within a few weeks, when he will be awarded the Soldier's medal at a special ceremony at the Longview, Texas army hospital where he is recuperating from leg wounds.
He was wounded in North Africa while in action near Oran, January 20, 1943. A 20MM cannon shell hit him in the left leg and left arm. He served as a tail gunner in a bomber and made 11 bombing missions before his heroic act disabled him.
Ray is the first Cleveland boy to return from the war theater bearing the enemy wounds and is also the first to earn these two conveted medals.
Ray J. Copeland, ASN 6291486, sergeant, Army of the United States. For meritorious conduct, on January 20, 1943, during an air alert at Air Base, Algeria, Sergeant Copeland did, beyond the call of duty without regard to personal welfare, knowing of the danger of exploding ammunition and the possibility of explosion of gasoline tanks, rush to the wreckage of two friendly aircraft in order to remove the pilots from the burning planes, since he did not know that both pilots had been thrown clear of flaming debris. In his efforts, Sergeant Copeland was wounded by 20MM shells in his ankle and upper left arm. The courage displayed in this emergency by Sergeant Copeland reflects great credit upon himself and the military forces of the United States.
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