William E. Copeland II, a 1964 graduate of Eskridge High School, was the first Wabaunsee County resident listed as Killed In Action in the Viet Nam War between 1961 and 1975.
After graduation from high school, Bill joined the U. S. Marine Corps, and after training he was deployed overseas in Viet Nam. Bill was a Lance Corporal (Rifleman), assigned to Company E, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines, 3rd Marine Division.
On March 25, 1966 Bill was Killed in Action, the victim of a fragmentation grenade attack during a battle in Quang Nam Province, South Viet Nam. Bill’s body was returned for burial in his home town of Eskridge, Kansas.
We salute his memory.
I do believe there is one more and his name is Steve Szijjarto, he was a Hungarian Refugee adopted by the Fred Killian family of Wabaunsee. It list him as being from Wamego, but that’s because of the address of us on the north end of WB County. http://www.virtualwall.org/ds/SzijjartoSJ01a.htm.
As I recall (being a classmate of Bill’s younger brother, Bob), Bill lost his life with only one week left in his tour of assignment to Viet Nam. Tours typically being 9 months of in country military duty. It was a very sad time for his family, friends and our Eskridge community.