Lt. Col. James A. Copp began his military career enlisting in December 1999 with the Indiana Army National Guard. Copp’s first assignment was with Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 293rd Infantry Regiment, where he served as a mortar team member and fire team leader.
Following his graduation from Ball State University, he received a commission as an engineer second lieutenant, where he was assigned to the 2nd Engineer Battalion as a platoon leader in the Republic of Korea. Deploying from Korea, he next served as an assistant S-3 and platoon leader with the 44th Engineer Battalion in Ramadi, Iraq.
Copp was selected for Special Forces and after completing the Special Forces qualification course and combat diver qualification course, he was subsequently assigned to 5th Special Forces group (Airborne) ODE 5425 where he led his detachment in the United Arab Emirates and Samara, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi freedom. Following detachment command, Copp served as the 4th Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) assistant S-3 deployed in support of Operation New Dawn, and as the battalion support company commander.
Copp next served at the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas where he earned a Master of Military Arts and Sciences and Master of international Relations. In July 2014, Copp returned to 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) and deployed to Iraq following the Iraqi seizure of Mosul where he served as the company commander for Bravo Company 2nd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne). Copp deployed again in support of the combined joint special operations Task Force – Syria, deputy J3, J33, fire cell director, and 2nd Battalion operations officer.
Copp assumed command of the Special Forces Dive School in June 2016, training combat divers, dive supervisors and dive medical technicians through June 2018. Following command, Copp was assigned to HQDA G-3 Special Operations Division tasked to work in HQDA G-8 FOP, where he processed all equipping requirements for Army Special Operations Forces. In June 2020, Copp was assigned to the mission command training program as the deputy chief of operations group for the strategic effects group overseeing training for division and corps level commands.
Copp’s awards and decorations include the Army Achievement Medal with 3 oak leaf clusters, Army Commendation Medal, Joint Commendation Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Bronze Star Medal, Special Forces Tab, Ranger Tab, Senior Airborne Badge, Air Assault Badge, Combat Action Badge, Recruiter Badge, the Combat Diver Badge, the Combat Dive Supervisor Badge, and the Army Staff Badge.