Ken began his Marine Corps career in May 1979 and served 30 years before retiring in June 2009. After receiving his Naval Aviator wings in 1982, he reported to VMGR-252 MCAS Cherry Point, NC where he served as the squadron Safety Officer. He deployed to MCAS Okinawa, Japan flying with VMGR-152 while serving as the Training Officer. Upon his return to Cherry Point he served as the Maintenance Officer for three years before being selected to fly with the United States Naval Flight Demonstration Team, the Blue Angels, to fly “Fat Albert".
Following a successful three-year tour, he was ordered to augment VMGR-234 during the buildup for DESERT SHIELD and later with VMGR-352 in DESERT STORM. Following the war he transferred to the IRR and remained there until he joined the SMCR with MAG-41, NAS Dallas, TX in 1992. While at MAG-41 he served as the Ground Safety Officer, Ground Training Officer, Assistant Ops Officer and finally Logistics Officer. From 1997-2000 he twice commanded combat deployments for OPERATION NORTHERN WATCH.
He served as the Commanding Officer of VMGR-234, from February 2000 to February 2002. In 2002, he was recalled to active duty, deploying with I MEF as the Air Officer during OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM. In the same tour he became the Deputy Director, Operations and eventually the I MEB Director, Operations. After a short stay home, he deployed again in 2004 with I MEF for OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM II as the Deputy Director, Operations.
At the end of 2004 he was ordered to report to the CG, II MEF and as the Chief of Staff, II MACE. He remained in that position until 2006 and was released from active duty. Following this tour, he was selected to report to the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, The Pentagon where he served in the J-3 in various positions; Team Chief within the National Military Command Center; and the Branch Chief Homeland Defense. During this tour he was also the Senior Reserve Marine on the Joint Staff. In June 2009 he retired from the Corps.
Ken is a graduate of The Citadel, and has Master's Degrees from Troy State University and George Mason University. His military schools include Amphibious Warfare School, the Marine Corps Command and Staff University, the Air Force Command and Staff College, the Naval War College, and the Advanced Joint Professional Military Education, Joint Forces Staff College.
He currently serves as the National President for the Marine Corps Reserve Association. His personal awards include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Joint Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Gold Star, Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Military Outstanding Volunteer Medal, and the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff Badge. Ken and his wife Sonja have five children and reside in Falls Church, VA. He can be reached at Ken.Hopper@USMCRA.ORG