Fallen Hero: PFC John B. Copeland, Jr.

Yazoo City

Funeral Home

Stricklin King Funeral Home

718 Calhoun Avenue Yazoo City, MS


Monday June 10 at First United Methodist Church with visitation starting at 12:30 p.m.


Monday June 10 at First United Methodist Church at 2:00 p.m. with Rev. Bill Poole officiating. Burial will follow in Glenwood Cemetery.


PFC Copeland is a combat veteran of the US Navy and the Mississippi National Guard.  He served in World War II followed by service with Company D, 155th Infantry Mississippi National Guard then another term of active service in the US Navy during the Korean War.  He fought in many battles in the Pacific Theater and walked on the beach with General MacArthur in the Philippines.

During World War II he served aboard the USS Heywood during all of the following time period.  At the outbreak of war the Heywood departed Norfolk, Virginia, 10 April 1942 with reinforcements for the Solomon Islands, then replenished at San Pedro, California, before sailing for Wellington, New Zealand.

She embarked U.S. Marines for amphibious warfare training, then sailed to land them in the amphibious assault in the Tulagi-Guadalcanal area 7 August 1942. She shot down an enemy plane 8 August and frequently repelled air attacks as she shuttled desperately needed supplies and troops into Guadalcanal from the New Hebrides, New Caledonia and ports of Australia. Outbound from the besieged Solomons, she evacuated wounded Americans and Japanese captives.

Heywood returned to San Pedro, California, 16 January 1943 for repairs. She sailed north 24 April, carrying fighting men who landed 11 May in an amphibious assault on Attu, Aleutian Islands. She returned nearly 500 wounded veterans of the campaign for Attu to San Francisco, California, 6 June, then put to sea with occupation troops landed to occupy Kiska 15 August 1943.

Heywood returned to Wellington, New Zealand, 1 October 1943 to train and embark fighting men landed in amphibious assault on bloody Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands 20 November. She returned to Pearl Harbor 3 December for amphibious warfare training culminating in the amphibious assault for the capture of the Marshall Islands which commenced 31 January 1944. She put garrison troops ashore at Kwajalein and Majuro, then landed assault units as Americans swiftly swept on to Eniwetok. With the Marshalls secured, the transport overhauled in San Pedro, California, then returned to the Marshalls 11 May to prepare for the invasion of the Marianas Islands. She landed assault troops at Saipan 16 June and on nearby Tinian 24 July as America took a giant sea step toward Japan herself.

Heywood participated in the long overseas sweep to Leyte in the Philippines, landing assault troops in the initial invasion of 20 October 1944. She had a brief rest at Manus in the Admiralties where she embarked assault troops landed on the shores of Lingayen Gulf 9 January 1945. She landed reinforcements to assist in securing Mindoro 9 February 1945. then returned to the States for overhaul before embarking reinforcements for the capture of Okinawa, the last stepping stone to Japan.

Heywood received seven battle stars for service in World War II:

Guadalcanal-Tulagi landings (7 August 1942)
Capture and defense of Guadalcanal (August 1942 to February 1943)
Gilbert Islands operation (Occupation of Kwajalein and Majuro Atolls, 31 January 1944; Occupation of Eniwetok Atoll, 17 February 1944)
Marianas operation (Capture and occupation of Saipan, 16 1944)
Tinian capture and occupation (24 July 1944)
Leyte operation (Leyte landings, San Pedro Bay, 20 October 1944)
Luzon operation (Lingayen Gulf landings, 9 January 1945)



John Bishop Copeland Jr., 93, of Yazoo City died at The Mississippi Baptist Medical Center in Jackson, Wednesday June 5, 2019. An Agent with Metropolitan Life Insurance Company he was a member of First United Methodist Church.
Survivors include his sisters, Lucy Lovertich and Wilma Walsh, both of Brandon, and Patsy Grantham of Braxton; and brothers, Jack Copeland (Edna) of Westminster, Calif., Fred Copeland (Evelyn) of Braxton and Col. Joe Copeland (Aldina) of Colorado Springs, CO.
John was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Copeland; and a brother, Billy Copeland.
In World War II John served in the U S Navy on The USS Heywood. He also served Yazoo County as a deputy sheriff, and at one time operated a Southland Oil Station.
Services will be Monday June 10 at First United Methodist Church with visitation starting at 12:30 p.m. followed by services at 2:00 p.m. with Rev. Bill Poole officiating. Burial will follow in Glenwood Cemetery.
Serving as pallbearers are Trey Lovertich, Brian Lovertich, Craig Lovertich, Ricky Lovertich, David Walch and Jimmy Ward.