Gunnery Sergeant Scott Koppenhafer died from injuries sustained during combat action in Iraq on Saturday, August 10, 2019. He suffered fatal wounds while on a planned operation with Iraqi Security Forces. He was a member of the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
Koppenhafer, age 35, was originally from Mancos, Colorado. He graduated from Adams State College in Alamosa, Colorado in 2005 with a B.S. in Business Marketing.
He joined the Marine Corps in 2005 – spending the last 10 years as a MARSOC Critical Skills Operator (CSO). Before joining MARSOC he served as a machine gunner with 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, and later as a scout sniper.
Koppenhafer completed the MARSOC training pipeline in 2009. He was the Individual Training Course honor graduate. He has had multiple combat tours – serving in both Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2018 he was recognized as the MARSOC 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.
Gunnery Sergeant Koppenhafer was a graduate of the School of Infantry, Mountain Survival Course, Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE), Scout Sniper Course, MARSOC’s Individual Training Course, MARSOF Advanced Sniper Course, Basic Airborne Course, Military Freefall, MARSOF Heliborne Insertion/Extraction Techniques Master, and Military Combatant Diver Course.
He is survived by his wife and two children.
Photo: Courtesy of U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command
DOD Identifies Marine Casualty, DoD, August 11, 2019.