Biography - Col(Ret) Gary Copsey

Col(Ret) Gary Copsey

Colonel Copsey retired from the Air Force on 30 Nov 2004, and was elected to the Board of Trustees at the 2005 National Conclave.  He also serves as President, AFA Texas. His last assignment was as Commander, AFROTC Detachment 930 at Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  While there, he also served as the AAS squadron advisor, and helped establish a Silver Wings organization on campus.  He entered the USAF through AFROTC Det 470, University of Nebraska at Omaha, where he was a member of the Earl S. Hoag Squadron, AAS.  Colonel Copsey is a Command Pilot with over 4,000 flying hours in a diverse assortment of aircraft and missions including the UH-1N, C-141B and HH-60G.  He has a varied command and staff background that includes work on the Military Airlift Command (MAC) staff as a programming officer, branch chief and director of protocol for CINCTRANS, joint staff experience on a sub-unified staff, deputy operations group commander, and flying squadron commander.  He has also served in Air Mobility Command’s (AMC) Tanker Airlift Control Center as Deputy Director of Command and Control, and as Director of Operations Management, where he was responsible for organizing and operating AMC’s Crisis Support Staff.  Prior to AFROTC, Colonel Copsey served as Chief of Staff of the Inter-American Defense Board, located in Washington DC.  He is married to the former Teresita Atienza of Mexico City, Mexico.  They currently reside in Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas


1974:  Bachelor of Arts, Psychology, University of Nebraska at Omaha

1977:  Master of Arts, Public Administration, Ball State University

1980:  Squadron Officer School (Residence and Correspondence)

           Marine Corps Command and Staff College (Correspondence)

1987:  Air Command and Staff College (Residence and Seminar)

1990:  Air War College (Seminar)

1991:  Airlift Operations School

1993:  Joint PME Phase II (Residence)


1.  Nov 74-Sep 75, Undergraduate Pilot Training-Helicopter, Class 75-24, Fort Rucker, AL

2.  Jan 76-Jan 79, UH-1N Instructor Pilot, Chief of Training, Det 9, 67 ARRS (MAC) Zaragoza    

     AB, Spain

3.  Feb-Oct 79, UH-1N Instructor Pilot, 1550th Flying Training Squadron (MAC), Kirtland AFB, 

     Albuquerque, NM

4.  Oct 79-Jul 81, UH-1N Academic Instructor, 1550th Technical Training Squadron (MAC), 

     Kirtland AFB, NM

5.  Jul 81-Mar 82, H-1 Program Manager, 1550th Aircrew Training and Test Wing (MAC), 

     Kirtland AFB, NM

6.  Mar 82-Mar 83, Undergraduate Pilot Training, Class 83-04, Williams AFB, AZ

7.  Jul 83-Jun 86, C-141 Instructor Pilot, Asst Ch Pilot, 4th Military Airlift Squadron (MAC), 

     McChord AFB, WA

8.   Aug 86-Jun 87, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, AL

9.   Jul 87-Sep 88, Operational Programming Officer, Directorate of Plans/Programs, HQ MAC, 

      Scott AFB, IL

10. Sep 88-May 90, Chief, Special Operations/Rescue Branch, Operational Programs Division, 

      HQ MAC, Scott AFB, IL

11. May 90-Mar 91, Director, CINCMAC/CINCTRANS Protocol, Scott AFB, IL

12. Mar 91-Apr 93, Asst Chief of Staff, Operations, Plans and SAR, U.S. Forces Azores 

      (USCINCLANT), Lajes Field, Azores, Portugal

13. Apr-Sep 93, HH-60G advanced pilot training, Kirtland AFB, NM

14. Sep 93-Jun 94, Deputy Commander, 35th Operations Group (ACC), NAS Keflavik, Iceland

15. Jun 94-Jul 95, Commander, 56th Rescue Squadron (ACC), NAS Keflavik, Iceland

16. Aug 95-Jul 98, Deputy Director, Command and Control and Director, Operations 

      Management, HQ AMC TACC, Scott AFB, IL

17. Jul 98-Jun 01, Chief of Staff, Inter-American Defense Board and College, Washington D.C.

18. Jul 01-Jul 04, Commander, AFROTC Detachment 930, and Chair, Department of Aerospace 

      Studies, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI


Rating:  Command Pilot

Flight Hours:  4,017

Aircraft Flown:  TH-55, UH-1H, UH-1N, T-37B, T-38A, C-141B, UH-60L, MH-60G, HH-60G


Mackay Trophy, Most Meritorious Flight of the Year in an Air Force Aircraft, 1994 

General Ira C. Eaker Award for Outstanding Airmanship, 1994

Honor Graduate, Undergraduate Pilot Training-Helicopter

Defense Superior Service Medal

Legion of Merit

Defense Meritorious Service Medal

Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters

Air Medal

Joint Service Commendation Medal

Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster

Air Force Achievement Medal

Combat Readiness Medal with one oak leaf cluster

Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal

Air Force Recognition Ribbon (Mackay Trophy)

National Defense Service Medal with device


Second Lieutenant 7 Nov 74

First Lieutenant 7 Nov 76

Captain 7 Nov 78

Major 1 Mar 86

Lieutenant Colonel 1 May 91

Colonel 1 Jul 97

(Current as of Mar 2017)