It is suggested that General Copper survived the decimation of the Red Ribbon Army Headquarters as, almost immediately before that happened, Commander Red told Staff Officer Black to give the Dragon Radar to General Copper for the General to find one of the Dragon Balls known to exist somewhere in his base's vicinity.
Seeing that Emperor Pilaf had the last Dragon Ball, General Copper failed in his mission.
General Copper's name is based on the color and metal "Copper". In addition, his alternate name, Kappa, is based on a Japanese mythological creature resembling a turtle with a bowl-shaped crevice which contains water on its cranium. Kappa often attacks people who cross bodies of water, and they could only be defeated by bowing.