William Michael Copley

Staff Sergeant
Army of the United States
22 May 1949 - 11 February 1974
Northridge, California
Panel 39W Line 072


Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

William M Copley

The database page for William Michael Copley

12 Feb 2002

I would like to memorialize William Copley ... 10 years ago, I was given his MIA bracelet and I have worn it faithfully every day since receiving it.

I will continue to wear it until he comes home.

From one who remembers,

23 Nov 2005

Dear William,

It's Thanksgiving 2005. I am most thankful for you, Sir. Your service and the men who served so galliantly with you are foremost on my mind. I await your return home, Sir, you and all the heros who served with you, I will never give up. I owe a debt of gratitude to you, Sir, for my Freedom. Thank you. I can never repay the debt, all I can do is assure you with all that I am that I will work diligently to bring you home, and those who served with you. God's Speed, Sergeant William Copley, YOU WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN.

Veronica Harding Perkins
12103 Main Street, Libertytown, Md 21762

24 May 2002

He is my adopted POW/MIA.
He will never be forgotten.

Andrea Powell

28 Feb 2003

When I was 10 years old in 1970, I bought a Bracelet from my neighbor for $5.00. I always prayed that Sgt. William Copley would find his way home. My heart was saddened after all these years, I found out today that the name on my bracelet Sgt William Copley never came home. I never thought after 32 years I would feel so devastated. I saw his photo for the first time a few hours ago. I want a family member to have the bracelet, and to let them know I never forgot about him.

Peace to you, Sgt. William Copley

Dorren P. Brennan
Glendale, NY

10 Feb 2004

In 1987 I first learned about soldiers still unaccounted for in Southeast Asia. I received my first bracelet with SSGT William Michael Copley's name. I have worn that bracelet and thought of him every day.

In the years since learning about the POW-MIA, meeting different families of them and other concerned citizens, I have still have yet to come across anyone who either wore his bracelet or knew of him. However, in coming across this memorial for him I learned something I never knew... My mother has worn the bracelet of 1LT James D. Birchim for many years since it was given to her by someone who knew his wife. Thus this is the first I ever knew of the connection of James Birchim having been with the team inserted to search and rescue of our missing Copley, though I knew their names were on the same panel of the Wall.

I am glad to know there is a place honoring the memories of both of them. I was glad to see a picture of William. For years I had always longed to have a face with his name. And so much more than names are these men... For I do miss this someone I never knew.

I am grateful for the ultimate sacrifices these men and the others who share their names on the Wall made. I am grateful to those who fought beside them like SSGT Roger T. Loe. Those who gave of themselves, their innocence, and much more than I would have the capacity to realize. Thank you! You will never be forgotten as long as I have breath in my lungs. God bless.

Sandy Reeves

24 Mar 2004

I'm 17 years old, and a senior at my local high school. In one of my classes we started reading "The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien, and my teacher decided to give us some background on the Vietnam war.

She randomly passed out biographies of POWs and MIAs. I got William Michael Copley's. We read them and made our own bracelets (out of paper like from amusement parks), and she is requiring us to wear them through the term for a test grade, but for me it means much more. I am proud to wear his name, and to remember him, and every one else who gave their lives. And even after I graduate at the end of this year, after the bracelet will inevitably come off, Willam Michael Copley will stay with me for a life time.

Thank you.

From an MIA bracelet wearer,

30 Jul 2004

Today is an exciting yet terrible day for me. I found this bracelet that has William's name on it, yet I also found out that he was Missing in Action so that devastates me. Even though I am only 13 years old I am so proud to wear this bracelet and I have so much grief for the family and I am sorry for what they had to go through.

I will wear this bracelet now and forever because I have spent today looking for information on William and I have found out that he was a great person and even though I have never met him, he will always have a place in my heart.

E-Mail will be forwarded by the

6 Apr 2005

While on our honeymoon in October 2003 my wife and I visited Washington D.C. and the Vietnam Memorial Wall. That day I purchased a bracelet with SSGT Copley's name on it and have worn it every day since. Though I was born in 1970 i feel very close to the men and women who served in that conflict and I don't know why. Maybe it's a way to right the wrong most of them received and felt when they returned home. By wearing SSGT Copley's bracelet I let everyone know that they all, the ones who did return and the ones who did not, are not forgotten and their service is very appreciated.

It warms my heart to see so many people thinking about and hoping that William Copley will someday come home. Seeing his picture only deepens the small bond I have with SSGT Copley, as I now have a face to go with his name.

Britt L. Davis

13 Oct 2005

In 1986 a friend gave me a POW bracelet with William M. Copley's name on it. I have worn it every day since and daily remember Copley. I recently found this site and saw his picture. Now I have a face to go with the story. This bracelet means more than just one name. It is a sign that we remember our lost and fallen men and women. As a veteran, I would be proud to know that many Americans remembered me and all of the others by showing their support by wearing a bracelet. It is my honor to wear this bracelet, and I will do so for the rest of my life. Thanks, vet.

Morris J. McLees
USN 64-68/MTARNG 80-2002

21 Dec 2005

I was given the bracelet in the spring of 1971 by a friend stationed at Reese Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas. Only today did I find Sgt. William Copley's name on this Virtual Wall ... I still hope and pray for his remains to be sent home.

God Bless Our servicemen and women!

Laura Branham
1309 Comay, Belton, Texas 76513
E-Mail will be forwarded by the

01 Apr 2007

Your family misses you much, Mike.
The Texas Snyders.

From a cousin.
E-Mail will be forwarded by the

Notes from The Virtual Wall

On 13 November 1968 a Special Forces reconnaissance team led by SSGT Roger T. Loe was ambushed while within Laos, about 16 miles west of Ben Het, SVN. The team's radioman, SP4 William M. Copley, was wounded in the initial burst of fire by a bullet which entered his upper left shoulder and exited through the middle of his back. SSGT Loe administered immediate first aid with compression bandages, took Copley in a shoulder carry, and attempted to withdraw from the ambush site with the remainder of the recon team (all of whom were indigenous personnel). After traveling a short distance, Loe fell to the ground. At that point he continued first aid until he determined that nothing more could be done for SP4 Copley. He was forced by hostile pressure to leave Copley's body behind. Loe and the remainder of the team were able to escape the ambush site and evade to safety.

Later on 13 November, another recon team consisting of 1LT James D. Birchim, assistant team leader SP4 Frank L Belletire, and ten indigenous troops, was inserted into the area of the ambush to conduct a search and rescue effort to rescue/recover SP4 Copley. Over the next two days an extensive search in and around the ambush site was conducted. During the search no sign of Copley was found.

On 15 November, the second team also was ambushed by Communist troops. At dusk, and after engaging in a running gun battle, emergency extraction helicopters recovered 8 of the 12-man SAR team, including 1LT Birchim and SP4 Belletire who were extracted using a McGuire rig. They could not be hoisted into the helicopter but instead remained in the McGuire rig dangling below the helicopter. During the flight, 1LT Birchim fell from the shared McGuire rig.

Formal search efforts were terminated on 16 November. At that time, Copley was listed as Missing in Action together with three men from the second team; the fourth member of that team was known to have been killed in action. 1LT Birchim was declared MIA as of 15 November.

On 11 February 1974, the Secretary of the Army approved a Presumptive Finding of Death for William M. Copley. His remains have not been recovered.

Taken from the
POW Network and
Task Force Omega

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
one who wears his MIA bracelet,

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 12 Feb 2002
Last updated 09/10/2007