Colorado Gov. Jared Polis ordered the United States and Colorado flags be lowered to half-staff statewide on all public buildings from sunrise to sunset Monday to honor Gunnery Sgt. Scott A. Koppenhafer of Mancos.
A memorial service will be held on Monday at 11 a.m. at the Elk’s Lodge in Cortez. In lieu of flowers please make donations to Dolores State Bank.
Koppenhafer died Aug. 10 in Iraq after suffering fatal wounds while supporting Iraqi Security Forces. He was assigned to the Second Marine Raider Battalion, Marine Forces Special Operations Command, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
He is survived by his wife and two children.
Koppenhafer, a critical skills operator with 2nd Marine Raider Battalion, suffered fatal wounds after becoming engaged in gunfire while supporting Iraqi Security Forces, according to Maj. Kristin Tortorici, a communications officer with the Marine Corps’ Special Operations Command. .
The incident was under investigation, Tortorici said.
Koppenhafer was assigned to the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion, Marine Forces Special Operations Command, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
He joined the Marine Corps in 2005 and spent the past 10 years as a MARSOC critical skills operator. Before joining the Marines special operations, he was a machine gunner with 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, and later as a scout sniper, completing deployments with both the 31st and 11th Marine Expeditionary Units.
Koppenhafer completed special operations training in 2009 as an honor graduate, and during his first MARSOC deployment to Afghanistan was promoted to the rank of staff sergeant. He completed three additional deployments as a member of 2nd Marine Raider Battalion and was selected as MARSOC’s 2018 Critical Skills Operator of the Year.
His personal decorations include: two Bronze Star medals with Combat Distinguishing Device, two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals with Combat Distinguishing Device, one Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, one Humanitarian Service Medal, two Combat Action Ribbons, four Good Conduct Medals, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and six Sea Service Deployment Ribbons.
He graduated from Adams State College in Alamosa in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in business marketing.
Koppenhafer is the second native of Montezuma County to die in combat this year.
Green Beret Sgt. 1st Class Will Lindsay, a member of the Second Battalion of the 10th Special Forces Group based at Fort Carson, died on March 22 as a result of injuries he suffered during combat operations in Kunduz Province, Afghanistan. Lindsay was born on Aug. 26, 1985, in Cortez, and enlisted in the Army on July 7, 2004. He is survived by his wife and four daughters.
A memorial service for Lindsay has been scheduled from 2-4 p.m. Aug. 31, at Parque de Vida amphitheater in Cortez.