Gary Douglas Hopps

United States Navy
28 August 1936 - 10 February 1966
Coral Gables, Florida
Panel 05E Line 022


A-1 Skyraider

Naval Aviator

Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Gary Douglas Hopps

15 Nov 2003

I wore his POW/MIA bracelet.

Stefanie Waters

27 Aug 2004

Dear Friends,
My name is Winter Eberstein, a fellow Navy vet and another person who has the honor of wearing a POW/MIA bracelet bearing the name/rank/date lost of Lt. Gary Hopps of Florida. It makes me so happy to see that his memory will live on. I hope that wherever his family is, that they are well and happy and know that their son/brother/friend (etc.) did NOT die in vain and that he is and always WILL be a hero in my heart!

Very Sincerely,
Winter Eberstein
(currently) of Tulsa, Oklahoma

04 Sep 2005

I too have worn a bracelet for Gary Hopps. I have always wondered what happened to him and I am glad I was finally able to find out. My father served in the Navy during Vietnam and was lucky enough to return home. He is gone now, since January 2005, but I am very thankful that I had him that long and not like so many others who never had that chance. I have seen where Lt. Hobbs was single, but did he have any family who still misses him?

Alicia Toth

24 Nov 2006

I went through elementary school with Gary Hopps in Skaneateles, New York, 1941-1948. We than moved to Indiana. He was in my Cub Scout den, of which my mother was the Den Mother. He lived just up the street, and we spent much time playing together as friends.

Gary, not married, had an older brother named Gordon who passed away on the west coast a few years ago. No other immediate family. At our school reunions, we miss Gary. We thank God for him and others like him who fought, and continue to fight, for freedom.

From a friend,
Gordon B. Rose
12680 Walney Court, Fishers, Indiana 46038

14 Jul 2007

I vividly remember the morning in the winter of 1966 when, as a 26 year old NY State Trooper stationed at SP Clarkson, NY, about 15 miles West of Rochester, I read a headline in the Rochester Democrat-Chronicle, "Gary Hopps killed in Viet Nam". The name Hopps is not terribly common, and Gary Hopps less common. To see your name in a headline announcing your death, is indeed startling...

Some of Gary's family was from Rochester, NY; in 1954 he graduated from Brighton High School in the Eastern Suburbs. Like Gary, I was Navy and had flown as a flight crew member while in the Naval Reserve. Later, on active duty stationed in Squadron VU-10 at Guantanamo Bay Cuba, I worked as a jet mechanic. After separation from the Navy I lived in Buffalo for a while and was accepted into the State Police academy in 1962. I was stationed at SP Clarkson (Brockport, NY) for about 6 years during the mid and late 1960's. Gary's Rochester family may have been aware of my existence due to a continual involvement in criminal and traffic accident investigations in and about the immediate area. The papers covered a lot of our work and as one of about 10 very active young troopers working in Western Monroe County, we were involved in many media reports.

I began flight training at the Rochester-Monroe County airport and went on to earn a Private and Commercial Licenses with Single and Multi-Engine Land and Single Engine Sea, Instrument and Flight Instructor ratings. I flew as a commercial Aerial Applicator, concurrent with the State Police career, for 14 years, building 3000+ flight hours mostly in and around the Adirondack Mountains.

As a father, I took my young sons, ages 7 and 9, to Washington in the early 1980's and visited Gary's grave in Arlington National Cemetery. At the time his grave was a temporary site. We traced his name from The Wall.

I've never had any contact with his family, although many times while at SP Clarkson, there was a strong urge to call them. It was felt, however, contact might be inappropriate.

Our lives were similar; only a couple years apart in age, lived in the same vicinity, both Navy, both pilots, both single and shared the same name. He died at age 29, three days before my 26th birthday. I only wish I could have known him. I too, have carried his memory in my heart for the past 40 some years.

Gary Hopps
Sergeant/Station Commander
NY State Police, Ret

18 Feb 2008

Gary Hopps and I became good friends during flight training in 1962 at NAS Pensacola. We were members of the Pensacola Goshawks football team and shared our love of competing, traveling with the team, progressing through flight school and spending our off time together when on the road. Even though I was happily married and he was single, we developed a wonderful friendship. Gary was truly a pleasant, engaging and giving friend.

Gary wanted very much to fly the Navy AD Skyraider, and I wanted Marine Jets. We had many talks about our futures and flying for our country in aircraft we loved. Because he was Navy and I a Marine we could never serve together, so after that 1962 football season we parted company to resume our careers.

We both valued the opportunity as friends to share our love for football and flying. He had a great sense of humor which made it a delight to be in his company. When I learned he had been lost I was saddened to know we would never again share each other's company.

Gary made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and way of life. I am honored that I knew him and he is missed.

From a friend,
Gordon Kelly
Gainesville, Florida

A Note from The Virtual Wall

On 10 Feb 1966 Lieutenant Gary D. Hopps was flying an armed reconnaissance mission over southern North Vietnam in an A-1H Skyraider (BuNo 137627). While attacking a road bridge roughly half-way between the coastal town of Dong Hoi and the Demilitarized Zone, Hopps failed to pull out of his delivery and crashed. The A-1 flight had been taking fire and it was believed that Hopps was hit and was unable to either control or leave his aircraft.

Since his wingman witnessed the crash and subsequent search-and-rescue efforts failed to produce any evidence that Hopps had survived the crash, he was declared Killed in Action, Body not Recovered. As of 16 Sep 2005 his remains have not been repatriated.

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

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 16 Nov 2003
Last updated 02/21/2008