Charles Henry Coolidge MOH

b. 04/08/1921 Signal Mountain, Tennessee. d. 06/04/2021 Signal Mountain, Tennessee.

DATE OF MOH ACTION: 24/10/1944 Belmont sur Buttant, France.

Charles H Coolidge MOH

Coolidge was born in Signal Mountain, Tennessee, on August 4, 1921, the son of Walter and Grace (McCracken) Coolidge. He graduated from Chattanooga High School in 1939, and worked at his father’s printing business (Chattanooga Printing & Engraving) as a bookbinder.

Coolidge was drafted into the United States Army on June 16, 1942. He received basic training at Fort McClellan in Alabama. He was then sent to Camp Butner, North Carolina and Camp Edwards in Massachusetts, where he was assigned to M Company, 3rd Battalion, 141st Infantry Regiment, 36th “Texas” Infantry Division. In April 1943, his unit was shipped overseas to Oran in Algeria, and in September took part in the Salerno landings and then continued to fight in the first half of the Italian campaign. While serving as a machine gun section leader and sergeant, he was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action in Italy on May 31, 1944, shortly before the capture of Rome.

On October 24, 1944, Coolidge was a technical sergeant in charge of a group of machine-gunners and riflemen of M Company, who were to hold a vital hilltop position in France near the German border. During four days of attacks at Hill 623, east of Belmont-sur-Buttant in the Vosges Mountains in France, Coolidge and his group held off numerous enemy infantrymen, plus two tanks on October 27 using grenades. One tank unsuccessfully fired five separate rounds directly at Coolidge. For his actions above and beyond the call of duty during the battle, Coolidge was presented the Medal of Honor by Lieutenant General Wade H. Haislip during a ceremony at an airfield near Dornstadt, Germany on June 18, 1945.

Coolidge resided near Chattanooga, Tennessee, where a highway and park have been named for him. For many years after the war, Coolidge went to work every day at the family business, Chattanooga Printing & Engraving, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2010. His son, Charles H. Coolidge Jr., is a retired lieutenant general of the United States Air Force. On September 15, 2006, Coolidge was awarded the Legion of Honour by officials of the French consulate at a ceremony in Coolidge Park (named in 1945). Coolidge was inducted into the John Sevier Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution in March 2015. He was conferred with the George Marshall Award in March 2021, several weeks before his death.

Coolidge married Frances Seepe in 1945. They remained married for 64 years until her death in 2009. They had three children: Charles, William (Bill), and John. Coolidge died on April 6, 2021, in Chattanooga at the age of 99. He had suffered from multiple sclerosis in the final 50+ years of his life. He was interred at Chattanooga National Cemetery beside his wife. 



Leading a section of heavy machineguns supported by 1 platoon of Company K, he took a position near Hill 623, east of Belmont sur Buttant, France, on October 24, 1944, with the mission of covering the right flank of the 3d Battalion and supporting its action. T/Sgt. Coolidge went forward with a Sergeant of Company K to reconnoiter positions for coordinating the fires of the light and heavy machineguns. They ran into an enemy force in the woods estimated to be an infantry company. T/Sgt. Coolidge, attempting to bluff the Germans by a show of assurance and boldness called upon them to surrender, whereupon the enemy opened fire. With his carbine, T/Sgt. Coolidge wounded 2 of them. There being no officer present with the force, T/Sgt. Coolidge at once assumed command. Many of the men were replacements recently arrived; this was their first experience under fire. T/Sgt. 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 25 and October 26, the enemy launched repeated attacks against the position of this combat group but each was repulsed due to T/Sgt. Coolidge’s able leadership. On October 27, German infantry, supported by 2 tanks, made a determined attack on the position. The area was swept by enemy small arms, machinegun, and tank fire. T/Sgt. Coolidge armed himself with a bazooka and advanced to 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. T/Sgt. Coolidge, displaying great coolness and courage, directed and conducted an orderly withdrawal, being himself the last to leave the position.