Posted in the Military Times, to read the kinked story, click here.
On April 6, the nation’s oldest Medal of Honor recipient, Charles H. Coolidge, died at the age of 99.
The unassuming and quiet Coolidge passed peacefully while surrounded by family at his namesake, the Charles H. Coolidge National Medal of Honor Heritage Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
With the death of Coolidge, Hershel “Woody” Williams, 97, who was awarded the nation’s highest decoration for his actions on Iwo Jima, is now the Medal’s oldest surviving recipient.
“We both have been blessed by God with a long, long life,” Williams told The New York Times on Wednesday.
Born on August 4, 1921, Coolidge was drafted into the military in 1942 and assigned to Company M of the 3rd Battalion, 141st Infantry Regiment, 36th Division. Formed in 1917 and composed largely of Texas National Guard troops, the outfit was aptly dubbed the “Texas” division.
Sgt. Coolidge saw action in North Africa and Italy with the 36th before transferring to France in 1944. In the fall of that year, Coolidge found himself in charge of alarmingly green troops — replacements for those killed and wounded from the bloody slog through France. Almost none of the new arrivals had seen combat.
Despite their inexperience, “his unit was nevertheless ordered to hold off the German forces threatening to attack the right flank of the division’s Third Battalion, 141st Infantry, which was massing with two other battalions outside the tiny town of Belmont-sur-Buttant,” according to the Times.