|Birth: ||Aug. 26, 1936|
Taylor (Lackawanna County)
|Death: ||Dec. 20, 2002|
West Virginia, USA
A son of Peter Frank Dopko (1893-1963) and Elizabeth Sheldon Dopko (1905-1996). Major, United States Marine Corps.
Military service began in March, 1954, when he enlisted with the NGUS. Later transferring to the US Army Reserve, he was honorably discharged (PFC), and transferred to the Marine Corps Reserve, in April, 1959. In January, 1960, upon receiving a Bachelor of Science in Education, from East Stroudsburg State College, he went active duty, USMC, as a 2nd lieutenant. Served in the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, in 1961-62, on Okinawa, under Lt. Col. Martin J. "Stormy" Sexton ("Stormy's 3/3"). Though it's unclear where he served through 1963, he is known to have participated in the Cuban Missile Crisis, and later landed at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on December 15, 1965.
Soon after, he was sent to Vietnam, and served in operations around Da Nang (beginning 12/26/1965), as part of FLSG III MAF. Various operations include Operation Harvest Moon, 3rd Marine Regt. (12/21/65-12/23/65); Operation Mallard, with 1st Bttn, 9th Marines (1/9/66-1/19/66); Operation Orange, with 9th Marine Regt, (3/17/66 – 3/21/66); Operation Georgia, with 9th Marine Regt, (4/31/66-5/3/66). For his actions at the Ammo Dump, Hill #327, Da Nang, received the Silver Star (see citation below). Completed tour in Vietnam, July 1966.
After earning the EOD Officer Insignia, on December 16, 1966, and being promoted to major (11/1/1968), his next tour in Vietnam began in June, 1969, during which time he served with the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines at Fire Support Base Ross and at LZ Baldy. He was listed as the S-3 from 9/16 - 10/9/69, and then XO, from 10/10 - 12/21/1969. Detached as an intell officer to the 2nd and 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Brigade, Republic of Korea Marine Corps.
During Operation Duong Son 3/70 (began 2/11/1970), served with the 1st Armor Brigade, Hoa Vang (Phan Hoa Hiep, Col, Armor, Commanding). Hiep remarked in a Letter of Commendation, "During Operation Duong Son 3/70, conducted by my command with Headquarters at LZ Baldy, Major Dopko provided invaluable intelligence information which materially contributed to successes achieved by Brigade. Throughout the operation, Major Dopko assisted the Brigade in intelligence matters. His keen understanding of our problems and capabilities and his unstinting willingness to assist, combined with his professional competence enabled Brigade to achieve a very close working relationship with the 7th Marine Regiment. The good rapport which Major Dopko established with our Brigade and the significant contributions he made to our efforts have won him the respect and praise of the officers and men of this command. As a result, I would like to make his contributions to the Vietnamese war effort and the close working relationship he established with us a matter of official record."
For his service during Operation Duong Son 3/70, Dopko earned the Bronze Star, with "V", for valor.
On 6/14/1970, Major Dopko completed his last tour in Vietnam, and transferred to the Navy and Marine Corps Reserve Training Center, Wheeling, WV, to serve as Inspector-Instructor, Company B, Fourth Military Police Battalion, USMCR, relieving Maj. W.F. Hurley.
Served next, from August, 1974 - May, 1978, as major, Support Bttn, MCDEC, Quantico; and then from June 1978 - June 1979, with the 3rd Support Bttn, Okinawa.
He was retired, while serving with HqCo, HqBn, 2dMarDiv, FMF, CLNC, 7/1/1980.
Decorations, medals, badges, and campaign ribbons: Silver Star, Bronze Star with "V" for Valor, Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation, Navy Unit Commendation, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Service Medal (6), RVN Staff Service Honor Medal, Gallantry Cross (Vietnam), RVN Meritorious Unit Citation w/Palm, RVNMCCAC, EOD (Officer Insignia).
Silver Star Citation:
The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Captain Theodore G. Dopko (MCSN: 0-79129), United States Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as Ammunition Platoon Commander, Force Logistic Support Group, III Marine Amphibious Force, in the Republic of Vietnam. On 30 January 1966, At Ammunition Supply Point Number ONE, fire erupted on a truck carrying several hundred rounds of 81-mm. mortar ammunition, creating imminent danger of explosion. Reacting swiftly, Captain Dopko took a fire extinguisher and boarded the blazing vehicle, completely disregarding his own safety, but at the same time warning another man [Sgt. John M. Twardowski] to stay away from the hazardous area. He steadfastly maintained his position, exchanging the extinguisher for a water hose as soon as fire truck equipment could be employed and assisted in fighting the blaze until the fire was out and the ammunition cooled to a degree where explosion was less likely. His unhesitating action in the face of extreme danger helped prevent a serious situation which, except for the swift measures that were taken, undoubtedly would have resulted in extensive loss of life and equipment. By his extraordinary heroism, brilliant initiative and unfaltering dedication to duty throughout, Captain Dopko upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Action Date: 30-Jan-66
Service: Marine Corps
Regiment: Force Logistic Support Group
Division: III Marine Amphibious Force
Peter Frank Dopko (1894 - 1963)
Elizabeth Sheldon Dopko (1905 - 1996)
Quantico National Cemetery
Prince William County
Plot: SECTION 18 SITE 650
Created by: Cenantua
Record added: Jan 30, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 47331064