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Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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World War II - U.S. Army

Charles Henry Coolidge

  • Rank: Technical Sergeant
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    2d Platoon, Company M, 3d Battalion, 141st Infantry,
    36th Infantry Division
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: October 24 - 27, 1944
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: east of Belmont-sur-Buttant, France

Leading a section of heavy machine guns supported by one platoon of Company K, he took a position near Hill 623, east of Belmont-sur-Buttant, France, 24 October 1944, with the mission of covering the right flank of the 3d Battalion and supporting its action. TSgt. Coolidge went forward with a sergeant of Company K to reconnoiter positions for coordinating the fires of the light and heavy machine guns. They ran into an enemy force in the woods estimated to be an infantry company. TSgt. Coolidge, attempting to bluff the Germans by a show of assurace and boldness, called upon them to surrender, whereupon the enemy opened fire. With his carbine, TSgt. Coolidge wounded two of them. There being no officer present with the force, TSgt. Coolidge at once assumed command. Many of the men were replacements recently arrived; this was their first experience under fire. TSgt. Coolidge, unmindful of the enemy fire delivered at close range, walked along the position, calming and encouraging his men and directing their fire. The attack was thrown back. Through 24 and 26 October the enemy launched repeated attacks against the position of this combat group but each was repulsed due to TSgt. Coolidge's able leadership. On 27 October, German infantry, supported by two tanks, made a determined attack on the position. The area was swept by enemy small-arms, machine-gun, and tank fire. TSgt. Coolidge armed himself with a bazooka and advanced within 25 yards of the tanks. His bazooka failed to function and he threw it aside. Securing all the hand grenades he could carry, he crawled forward and inflicted heavy casualties on the advancing enemy. Finally it became apparent that the enemy, in greatly superior force, supported by tanks, would overrun the position. TSgt. Coolidge, displaying great coolness and courage, directed and conducted an orderly withdrawal, being himself the last to leave the position. As a result of TSgt. Coolidge's heroic and superior leadership, the mission of his combat group was accomplished throughout four days of continuous fighting against numerically superior enemy troops in rain and cold and amid dense woods.

Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Signal Mountain, Hamilton County, Tennessee
  • Awarded Posthumously: No
  • Presentation Date & Details: June 18, 1945

    near Ulm, Germany, presented by Maj. Gen. Frederick Haislip

  • Born: August 4, 1921, Signal Mountain, Hamilton County, TN, United States
  • Died: April 6, 2021, Chattanooga, TN
  • Buried: Chattanooga National Cemetery, Chattanooga, TN, US

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