ROTC Cadet is Army's First Fourth-Generation Paratrooper

Junior Meghan Copenhaver follows mother, grandfather and great-grandfather to Airborne School.

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Service members wearing olive-green helmets with black numbers and letters on it line up on several steps as they wait their turn to practice landing techniques after jumping out of an airplane.

In the crowd, one Army Reserve Officer Training Corps cadet wears a helmet with the letter and numbers C30 printed on it.

Of the 30 females who started this journey in Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment at Fort Benning, Georgia, she’s one of 12 left. Nonetheless, it’s not the number 30 or the number 12 that sets this particular female apart from her peers; it’s the number four. Cadet Meghan Copenhaver is the Army’s first fourth-generation paratrooper.

Copenhaver’s mother, maternal grandfather and maternal great-grandfather also graduated from the U.S. Army Airborne School. Additionally her great-grandfather, retired Army Col. John Anderson Hughes, jumped into Sainte-Mère-Église, France, just east of Normandy Beach on D-Day. He was a master parachutist who served in World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam.

“It’s kind of scary, but it’s also amazing,” said Copenhaver, who’s approaching her junior year as an ROTC cadet at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia. “I came to Airborne School because I wanted to get my wings, distinguish myself as a cadet, and prepare myself for a good career. Now, I’m able to follow in their footsteps in my own way and make my own path, and do what my family did before me.”

This is an excerpt of a story originally published on Benning News, the official blog of the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Georgia.

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Meghan Copenhaver is a junior business administration major and leadership studies minor. She is a cadet in Christopher Newport's Revolutionary Guard Battalion ROTC program and a member of the President's Leadership Program.

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