Maj. C. Alan Hopewell, PhD, resembles his father, the late Lt. Col. Clifford Henry Hopewell, in many ways. Both are tall, broadly built men who joined the U.S. Army.
And now, both have earned the prestigious Bronze Star Medal for their service.
C. Alan Hopewell, the first Army prescribing psychologist to serve in a combat theater, has been awarded the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service in Operation Iraqi Freedom. He is recognized for his service as senior neuropsychologist in active duty and an expert in traumatic brain injury. His father earned the medal for his service in World War II, where he navigated a B-17 that was blown out of the air by a German fighter airplane 20,000 feet over Holland. He survived and later served again in the Korean War.
"My father was a true hero," he says. "He passed away as I was applying to come back on active duty, and I dedicated this, my fourth tour of duty, to him."
Hopewell's fourth tour of duty is unique: He returned to service after a long break, during which he served at Fort Jackson, S.C., and then reorganized the neuropsychological laboratories at the Landstuhl Army Medical Center in Germany and Brooke Army Medical Center in Fort Sam Houston. During his service, C. Alan Hopewell has treated thousands of service members in Fort Hood, Texas. He helped treat Iraqi citizens traumatized by the war by testing them for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in Arabic. He also collected data on more than 6,000 active-duty troops on PTSD and traumatic brain injury to help mental health professionals understand these disorders.
Though his time in active combat was not, thankfully, as eventful as his father's, Hopewell has had more than a few harrowing and difficult moments, including while on a mission to Mahmudiyah, where insurgent fighting broke out.
"We were prepared to go out on a medical mission in the local community when fighting broke out again," he explains. "We were very disappointed because the civil affairs units are working hard to help local citizens, and renewed fighting slows this help down. Luckily, as I was leaving, no Americans had been hurt and we were hoping to be able to renew the medical missions as soon as possible."
After spending nine months in Iraq with the 785th Medical Company Combat Stress Control, Hopewell returned to his position as co-director of traumatic brain injury services at Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center in Fort Hood, taking this honor back with him.
"The award was quite surprising and has special meaning to me," he says.