Women In The Military Gives Historic Overview


Last updated 11/4/2019 at 4:51pm

Copelof shows the details of her uniform, which is on permanent display in the museum. (Courtesy photo)

On Nov. 7 at 2 p.m., Maureen Copelof, captain, U.S. Navy (Ret.) will present the free program "Women in the Military: An Historic Overview" at the Veterans History Museum of the Carolinas. During the entire month of November, the museum honors women who serve or have served. Copelof's program kicks off a series of programs by service women.

Copelof will discuss:

•The roles women played starting with the American Revolution up to the present

•The gradual progression of more military occupational fields being opened to women

•The history, the contributions and obstacles women faced as they fought to become full partners in the military services.

Copelof received a Bachelor of Arts degree in religious studies and an M.B.A from the University of South Carolina. She later completed a master's of political science degree at Auburn University.

In 1979, she joined the United States Navy and went to Officer Candidate School in Newport, RI. After being commissioned an ensign in September 1979, she reported to her first duty assignment at Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 24 in Sigonella, Sicily. She continued to serve on active duty for 30 years, retiring with the rank of captain.

During her military career, Copelof served as Commanding Officer, US Naval Computer and Telecommunications Master Station, Atlantic, among other leadership positions. This command is one of only two master communications stations in the Navy. As Commanding Officer, she was responsible for shore and fleet communications for half of the globe, covering the area from North Dakota to Bahrain.

Throughout her career Copelof served on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations; was hand- selected by the Vice Chief of Naval Operations to lead a task force charged with deploying web technology across the fleet; worked satellite communications, including GPS and weather satellites; worked on electronic charting technology for naval vessels, and in her final tour of duty served as the Deputy Director, Command and Control for U.S. European Command working with joint and allied partners.

Copelof met and married her husband, CWO4 Sylvan Copelof, USN (Ret) when they were both stationed in Sigonella, Sicily. Since retiring from the Navy, they have resided in Brevard where they have been active in various community and civic organizations. Copelof served on the Transylvania County Planning Board, served as executive director of Free Rein for two years, and is currently the vice chair of Board of Directors of Rise & Shine. In November 2017 she was elected to serve as a member of the Brevard City Council.

Additional November programs will be (all at 2 p.m.):

•Nov. 14: Lt. Barbara Sterrenberg, U.S. Navy medical recruiter

•Nov. 21: Michele Bretz, U.S. Navy nurse, and Dorothy Managan, U.S. Army nurse, WWII.

The Veterans History Museum of the Carolinas is located at 21 E. Main St. in Brevard beside the courthouse. Admission is free, and open hours are Wednesday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m.

For more information, to arrange a group tour, or to purchase an Honor Wall plaque for a veteran, call (828) 884-2141 or visit http://www.theveteransmuseum.org.


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