Rank and organization: Technical Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company M, 141st
Infantry, 36th Infantry Division.
Place and date: East of Belmont sur Buttant,
France, 2427 October 1944.
Entered service at: Signal Mountain, Tenn.
Signal Mountain, Tenn.
G.O. No.: 53, July 1945.
Citation: 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 24 October 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 26 October 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 27 October, 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. As a result of T/Sgt. Coolidge's
heroic and superior leadership, the mission of this combat group was accomplished
throughout 4 days of continuous fighting against numerically superior enemy
troops in rain and cold and amid dense woods.
This data was extracted from the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, U.S. Senate, Medal of Honor Recipients: 1863-1973 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1973)