Navy Flag Officer Biography

Vice Admiral Tom Copeman

Commander, Naval Surface Forces
Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet

Vice Admiral Tom Copeman


Vice Adm. Copeman graduated from high school in Honolulu after which he attended Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., where he received a bachelor’s in Biology in 1981. He was commissioned April 2, 1982, at Officer Candidate School in Newport, R.I.

Copeman has served aboard cruisers and destroyers in both the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets. His first assignment was as electrical officer and main propulsion assistant aboard USS Leftwich (DD 984). His second division officer tour was as a gas turbine inspector for Pacific Fleet Propulsion Examining Board. Following his graduation from Surface Warfare Officer School Department Head Course in 1987, he reported aboard USS Philippine Sea (CG 58) as the commissioning engineer officer in participation of combat operations in the Persian Gulf War. Subsequent sea tours include, executive officer aboard USS Lake Champlain (CG 57) and commanding officer aboard USS Benfold (DDG 65). Following a tour as fleet operations officer in U.S. 2nd Fleet, Copeman commanded Destroyer Squadron 28 where he deployed as the sea combat commander, in the George Washington Carrier Strike Group to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

While ashore, Copeman served in the U.S. Strategic Command, Omaha, Neb., as an action officer in the Current Operations Directorate (J31). His next shore tour was as a requirements officer in the Theater Air Warfare Branch in the Surface Warfare Directorate (N76), Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. He served as executive assistant to the Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff, U.S. Atlantic Fleet; the director of Navy Senate Liaison in the Office of Legislative Affairs; and the chief of staff for Naval Surface Forces, San Diego. He served as deputy chief of staff for Operations and Training for U.S. Pacific Fleet. His next assignment was commander, Joint Task Force, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and his most recent assignment was chief of legislative affairs.

Copeman is a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff Course, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He has a Master of Science in Administration from Central Michigan University. He also completed the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Seminar XXI program on National Security Affairs.

Copeman has been awarded the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, as well as various unit and campaign awards.


Updated: 31 October 2012