Presidents Corner

CAPTAIN CHRIS WARREN KOPANG
U.S. NAVY (Retired)

A native of Lake Arrowhead, California, Captain Kopang joined the Navy in August 1971 after earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Rhetoric from the University of California, Berkeley.  Commissioned at Officer Candidate School in Newport, RI, where he graduated as class honor man and Regimental Commander, he retired from the Navy in July 2006 after almost 35 years of active duty service.

Captain Kopang completed numerous sea duty assignments during his surface warfare  career, including two Chief Engineer tours, USS COOK (FF 1083) and USS LEAHY (CG 16), a 15-month tour as Flag Secretary for Commander, Cruiser-Destroyer Group 3 embarked in USS ENTERPRISE (CVN 65), Executive Officer, USS HORNE (CG 30), and Commanding Officer of USS LEFTWICH (DD 984).  Captain Kopang’s command tour was highlighted by two cruises to the Eastern Pacific as well as leading all Pearl Harbor ships in both enlisted and junior officer retention.

His shore tours included serving as speechwriter for the Vice Chief of Naval Operations, Political-Military Planner in the Joint Staff (J-5), Deputy Senior Member, Pacific Fleet Propulsion Examining Board, and Director of Military Compensation for the Secretary of Defense.  During his tour as Director, he developed two of the largest military pay raises since the creation of the all-volunteer force.  Captain Kopang’s final tour was as Commanding Officer of the Navy ROTC Unit at Maine Maritime Academy/University of Maine.

While he and his wife Jan were both born and raised in Southern California, they now live the dream in Maine, where Captain Kopang serves as Coordinator for Administrative Services for the Federal Aviation Administration at the Bangor International Airport.

A LETTER TO MEMBERS

Dear Members and Visitors:

Welcome to the Penobscot Bay Navy League Council website.  The Navy League of the United States is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating our citizens about the importance of sea power to U. S. national security and supporting the men and women of the sea services and their families.  Our council covers the northern half of Maine and we have approximately 90 members.

Locally, we support the men and women of the sea services by providing financial assistance each year to the outstanding midshipman in the Naval ROTC Unit at the University of Maine/Maine Maritime Academy.  Additionally, we award prizes each spring to the two Merchant Marine graduates of Maine Maritime Academy who score highest on the U. S. Coast Guard Third Mate and Third Assistant Engineer licensing examinations.  We also recognize each summer the Coast Guard Sailor of the Year as nominated by the Commander, Northern New England Sector.  Several of our members are also involved with the Maine Troop Greeters association at Bangor International Airport.

To enable us to provide this level of support, we have a fundraiser each year in the late summer/early fall during which we, in partnership with Maine Maritime Academy, offer an afternoon cruise of the scenic Penobscot Bay on board the schooner Bowdoin.  This year’s cruise will be on Monday, September 20th.  The event is open to the public and I hope you are able to join us!

On a more personal note, membership in our council will offer you the opportunity to network with community leaders and enjoy their camaraderie in varied social settings.  If you have any questions regarding the Penobscot Bay Council or would like to become a member, please feel free to contact me using the link provided on our website.  I look forward to meeting you at one of our future events.

Sincerely,

Chris Kopang


HAPPENS EVERY FRIDAY AT THE PENTAGON!  Were you aware?

Mornings at the Pentagon By JOSEPH L. GALLOWAY - McClatchy Newspapers

Over the last 12 months, 1,042 soldiers, Marines, sailors and Air Force
personnel have given their lives in the terrible duty that is war.
Thousands more have come home on stretchers, horribly wounded and facing
months or years in military hospitals.

This week, I'm turning my space over to a good friend and former roommate,
Army Lt. Col. Robert Bateman, who recently completed a year long tour of
duty in Iraq and is now back at the Pentagon.

Here's Lt. Col. Bateman's account of a little-known ceremony that fills
the halls of the Army corridor of the Pentagon with cheers, applause and
many tears every Friday morning. It first appeared on May 17 on the
Weblog of media critic and pundit Eric Alterman at the Media Matters for
America Website.

"It is 110 yards from the "E" ring to the "A" ring of the Pentagon. This
section of the Pentagon is newly renovated; the floors shine, the hallway
is broad, and the lighting is bright. At this instant the entire length of
the corridor is packed with officers, a few sergeants and some civilians,
all crammed tightly three and four deep against the walls. There are
thousands here.

This hallway, more than any other, is the 'Army' hallway. The G3 offices
line one side, G2 the other, G8 is around the corner; it’s all Army. Moderate
conversations flow in a low buzz. Friends that may not have seen each other
for a few weeks, or a few years, spot each other, cross the way and renew.

Everyone shifts to ensure an open path remains down the center. The air
conditioning system was not designed for this press of bodies in this
area.

The temperature is rising already; nobody cares. 1036 hours: The
clapping starts at the E-Ring. That is the outermost of the five rings of
the Pentagon and it is closest to the entrance to the building. This
clapping is low, sustained, and hearty. It is applause with a deep emotion
behind it as it moves forward in a wave down the length of the hallway.

"A steady rolling wave of sound it is, moving at the pace of the soldier
in the wheelchair who marks the forward edge with his presence. He is the
first. He is missing the greater part of one leg, and some of his wounds
are still suppurating. By his age I expect that he is a private, or
perhaps a private first class.

"Captains, majors, lieutenant colonels and colonels meet his gaze and nod
as they applaud, soldier to soldier. Three years ago when I described one
of these events, those lining the hallways were somewhat different. The
applause a little wilder, perhaps in private guilt for not having shared
in the burden ... yet.

"Now almost everyone lining the hallway is, like the man in the
wheelchair, also a combat veteran. This steadies the applause, but I
think deepens the sentiment. We have all been there now. The soldier's
chair is pushed by, I believe, a full colonel.

"Behind him, and stretching the length from Rings E to A, come more of his
peers, each private, corporal, or sergeant assisted as need be by a field
grade officer.

1100 hours: Twenty-four minutes of steady applause. My hands hurt, and
I laugh to myself at how stupid that sounds in my own head. My hands hurt.
Please! Shut up and clap. For twenty-four minutes, soldier after soldier
has come down this hallway - 20, 25, or 30.  Fifty-three legs come with them,
and perhaps only 52 hands or arms, but down this hall came 30 solid
hearts.

They pass down this corridor of officers and applause, and then meet for a
private lunch, at which they are the guests of honor, hosted by the
generals. Some are wheeled along. Some insist upon getting out of their
chairs, to march as best they can with their chin held up, down this
hallway, through this most unique audience. Some are catching handshakes
and smiling like a politician at a Fourth of July parade. More than a
couple of them seem amazed and are smiling shyly.

"There are families with them as well: the 18-year-old war-bride pushing
her 19-year-old husband's wheelchair and not quite understanding why her
husband is so affected by this, the boy she grew up with, now a man, who
had never shed a tear is crying; the older immigrant Latino parents who
have, perhaps more than their wounded mid-20s son, an appreciation for the
emotion given on their son's behalf. No man in that hallway, walking or
clapping, is ashamed by the silent tears on more than a few cheeks. An
Airborne Ranger wipes his eyes only to better see. A couple of the
officers in this crowd have themselves been a part of this parade in the
past.

These are our men, broken in body they may be, but they are our brothers,
and we welcome them home. This parade has gone on, every single Friday,
all year long, for more than four years.

"Did you know that?