HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Seven men are being recognized by the Madison County Military Heritage Commission as inductees into the 2019 Madison County Hall of Heroes.
One of those men is retired Command Sgt. Maj. Eugene Cope.
The 86-year-old veteran has seen it all. He served in Germany, France and Korea among other places. But he described his time in Vietnam as a “year of hell.”
“I got my tail shot off several times. They didn’t like what I was doing because I was disrupting things like mines, explosive traps. I got wounded a number of times there,” said Cope.
Cope’s job was very dangerous. Back then it was called the bomb disposal program, which is now known as the explosive ordnance disposal program.
Cope disposed of hundreds of bombs in his 30 years of service.
“I’ve been anywhere I need to go because anytime we had an explosive incident, we had to furnish support to countries that didn’t have it,” he said.
Putting his life on the line almost daily earned him too many honors to name, but most notable the Soldier’s Medal and five Purple Hearts.
But the Legion of Merit Award is the one most special to him.
His job, involved a lot of travel, and he had to be ready to go at a moment’s notice.
“I spent a lot of Christmases and Thanksgivings away from home," he said. "That was my life in the military.”
This took him away from his two kids and wife, who also deserves an award for doing the work at home while he was serving our country.
“She was with me day,” said Cope.
The couple has been through a lot. And by the grace of God, this decorated soldier survived numerous conflicts overseas.