From his earliest days on the elementary school playground, Jay Kopelman has championed for – and taken pride in defending – those who could not stand up for themselves. He continues to champion for the underdog, and has dedicated his adult life to helping others: first, as an officer of Marines for 21 years; then as the executive director of a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting wounded service members and their families; and, finally, as a health care innovation leader seeking improved patient outcomes. Though he has performed combat operations in Iraq, Kopelman (a retired Marine Corps lieutenant colonel) has continually managed to demonstrate compassion for those who have suffered misfortune or loss. Read More >
Today, Kopelman serves as a client success executive at AirStrip, the leading provider of remote patient monitoring services and data aggregation for health systems, physicians, and other clinicians.
Kopelman began his military career in the US Navy in 1985, training to become a Naval Aviator, and then transferred to the Marine Corps in 1992, where he continued to fly before becoming a forward air controller and earning his gold naval parachutist wings. His last assignment was as the Deputy Director for advisor training at Camp Pendleton.
In 2004, as the Special Operations Forces Liaison Officer for the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF), Kopelman was deployed to Iraq to train the Iraqi Special Forces (SSF). In October, he was assigned as the liaison officer to an Iraqi Army battalion, and they entered the city of Fallujah (at the time, considered the most dangerous place on Earth) to battle insurgents for control of the city. Subsequently, Kopelman served as the I MEF liaison officer to a joint special operations task force and as a liaison officer to the Iraqi border forces – the Desert Wolves – at the Syrian and Jordanian borders.
Kopelman has appeared frequently on both network (Fox, NBC) and local television news to discuss breaking stories, events, and issues of importance to the military and veterans. He has authored two books, The New York Times and international bestselling memoir, From Baghdad, With Love: A Marine, the War, and a Dog Named Lava; and From Baghdad to America: Life After War for a Marine and His Rescued Dog. He serves on the Advisory Board of the Virtual Reality Medical Center, a San Diego-based company with offices in Los Angeles and Palo Alto, CA, that has been using simulation technologies to treat returning combat veterans suffering from PTSD via graded exposure therapy. Kopelman is a past member of the board of directors of Freedom Is Not Free and a past advisory board member of the GI Film Festival and the Rancho Santa Fe Fund, and is a supporter of San Diego-based Challenged Athletes Foundation. He raises funds for their Operation Rebound program, the penultimate program of its type, dedicated to bringing sports and exercise to permanently disabled veterans and first responders.
Speaking to audiences about his experiences in Iraq, he also addresses his journey of leadership, and his perspectives on current world events, terrorism, and how politics will affect Iraq and the world. Additionally, Kopelman is well versed on the effects of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the resultant casualties of this debilitating and insidious disease. He speaks to these issues, as well as the increasing rates of suicide, substance abuse, and homelessness among our veterans and what can be done to help them. Read Less ^