Ted Kopfman was born in 1931 in Kent, Ohio. He enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve on March 5, 1951, and served at NAS Akron, Ohio, until he received his commission as an Ensign through Officer Candidate School at Naval Station Newport, Rhode Island, on August 30, 1955. Ens Kopfman next completed flight training and was designated a Naval Aviator at NAS Pensacola in September 1956, followed by advanced instrument training at NAS Corpus Christi, Texas, from September to December 1956. LtJg Kopfman completed jet fighter training at NAS Corpus Christi in March 1957, and then served as a flight instructor with ATU-203 and then ATU-213 at NAAS Chase Field, Texas, from March 1957 to September 1958. He then attended A4D Skyhawk fleet replacement pilot training at NAS Moffett Field, California, from September 1958 to June 1959, followed by service as an A4D (redesignated A-4 in 1962) pilot with VA-195 at NAS Moffett Field from July 1959 to November 1962. LCDR Kopfman served as an A-4 flight instructor with VA-125 at NAS Lemoore, California, from November 1962 to September 1965, and then as an A-4 pilot with VA-55 at NAS Lemoore and deployed aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ranger (CVA-61) from September 1965 until he was forced to eject over North Vietnam and was taken as a Prisoner of War on June 15, 1966. After spending 2,435 days in captivity, CDR Kopfman was released during Operation Homecoming on February 12, 1973. He was briefly hospitalized to recover from his injuries at the Naval Hospital in Oakland, California, and he then attended A-4 flight training and served as a Project Officer with Light Attack Wing, U.S. Pacific Fleet, at NAS Lemoore from December 1973 to July 1975. CAPT Kopfman next served as Commanding Officer of VT-26 at NAS Chase Field from July 1975 to June 1976, followed by service as Assistant Chief of Staff for Training and Operations with the Chief of Naval Air Training at NAS Corpus Christi from June 1976 until his retirement from the Navy on November 1, 1978. Ted Kopfman died on March 19, 2014, and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
His 1st (of 2) Silver Star Citation reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action on 15 June 1966, while serving as a pilot of light jet attack aircraft with Attack Squadron FIFTY-FIVE, embarked in USS RANGER (CVA-61), during aerial combat operations in Southeast Asia. As leader of a flight of four aircraft, Commander (then Lieutenant Commander) Kopfman planned, led and executed a highly successful attack against a surface-to-air missile site. Although the flight was fired upon approaching the target area, Commander Kopfman avoided the missiles by evasive maneuvering, and visually acquired the target. In the face of intense and accurate heavy and medium gunfire which blanketed the sky, he spearheaded the assault, placing his air-to-ground missiles among the enemy missile launchers as he pulled up and directed the remainder of the flight in acquisition of the target. Commander Kopfman's superb leadership and exceptional weapons delivery resulted in the destruction of a highly dangerous enemy missile complex. His gallant and courageous performance was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.