Gunnery Sergeant Scott Koppenhafer died serving his country in Iraq on August 10, 2019. Scott was born February 13, 1984 to Dr. Gerald and Carla Koppenhafer of Mancos, CO. Scott's devotion and loyalty to his country, team, and friends was only surpassed by his love for his wife and children. He was a dedicated husband and father who balanced his life as a Marine to that of a family man, with enviable ease. For all the important work Scott did, and goals he achieved, Scott always believed his most important role was that of a father. Scott often spent his leave at home and never felt more at ease than when he was at work or play in the mountains of southwestern Colorado. Below is a statement from Lt. Col. James Rose, Commanding Officer, 2d Marine Raider Battalion, Marine Forces Special Operations Command.
"2nd Marine Raider Battalion, and the whole of Marine Forces Special Operations Command, have suffered a great loss with the death of Gunnery Sgt. Scott Koppenhafer. Even more so, his family is now grieving the unfathomable loss of their husband, father, son, and brother. For those that had the honor of serving with Gunnery Sgt. Koppenhafer, they knew all too well of his incredible love for his family. In keeping true to his title of "Marine Raider," Scott leaves behind a legacy of honor, devotion, loyalty, and selfless sacrifice. As the honor graduate for MARSOC's Individual Training Course 08-2, it was evident he embodied all that it means to be a quiet professional with an unconquerable spirit. He was a proven leader, mentor, and combat-tested warrior, whose decisive actions saved lives and furthered MARSOC's operational achievements. For his superior performance in combat, Scott was awarded 2 Bronze Star Medals with valor. Always wanting to challenge and better himself, Scott followed a somewhat untraditional path and chose to enlist in the Marine Corps after receiving his Bachelor's Degree from Adams State College in 2005. It was this same relentless pursuit of personal and professional excellence that earned him the 2018 Excalibur Award of Excellence, and the title of Critical Skills Operator of the Year. Our community as a whole joins the entire Koppenhafer family as we mourn this tremendous loss and honor the incredible life, service and ultimate sacrifice of Gunnery Sgt. Scott Koppenhafer."
Scott will be missed and is survived by his wife, Renae, and two children, Colt and Penelope; his parents, Gerald and Carla; brother Travis (Ashley); sister Kelleen (Travis); and 3 nephews, Grant, Augustus, and Michael.
A memorial service will be held on Monday, August 26th at 11:00 a.m. at the Elk's Lodge in Cortez, CO. In lieu of flowers please make donations to Dolores State Bank.
Scott Aaron Koppenhafer
Published in The Journal on Aug. 20, 2019.