Technical Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company M, 141st Infantry, 36th Infantry Division
ast of Belmont sur Buttant, France, 24-27 October 1944
“My creed and formula for successful living is simple. It sus-tained me through World War II: Trust not in thine own self but put your faith in Almighty God, and He will see you through. I had this brought home to me in vivid fashion on Hill 623 in southern France during WWII. Although faced with possible annihilation by an enemy force of greater numbers, my small body of brave soldiers overcame these overwhelming odds.
“Hill 623 in southern France will remain steadfast in my memory. The action that occurred there resulted in my being awarded the Medal of Honor, which is our country’s highest mili-tary decoration. But I must be quick to state that the act that took place on a hill at Calvary far exceeds any victory that man can con-ceive. It was there that the Lord laid down His life for all who would believe and accept His gift of grace. Through His resurrec-tion, victory over Satan was wrought and the plan of salvation be-came a living truth.
“For young people, I recommend that they set their priorities straight. Put God first in all things, and the remaining issues will fall in line. Simply conduct oneself in such a manner that if Christ should suddenly appear, personal behavior would prove no embar-rassment to Him or to oneself. Be honest in all dealings with other people and share the love of Christ with whomever you find op-pressed or despondent. And, finally, to thine own self be true lest you prove false to your fellow men. This is something that has sus-tained me through the trials of battle and the troublesome encoun-ters of civilian life.”
Leading a section of heavy machineguns supported by 1 pla-toon of Company K, he took a position near Hill 623, east of Belmont sur Buttant, France, on 24 October 1944, with the mis-sion of covering the right flank of the 3d Battalion and supporting its action. T/Sgt. Coolidge went forward with a sergeant ofCompany 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 two 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 re-pulsed 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, ma-chinegun,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 ca-sualtieson 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 him-self 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 four days of continuous fighting against numerically superior enemy troops in rain and cold and amid dense woods.
SHADOW OF DEATH – FEAR NOT
Ever since the fall of Adam, man has struggled to live in peace on this planet. The entry of Satan has wrought havoc on men and nations alike. Fierce battles have been fought to prevent world dom-ination by satanic powers. Unfortunately, man has not solved this ongoing dilemma, and the threat of war still exists.
As I survey my military combat experience during World War II, I am confident that it was my strong Christian faith that sus-tained me during fierce battles. I held to the firm belief to trust not in thine ownself, but place your faith in Almighty God and He will see you through. On Hill 623, in Southern France during that global war, although faced with possible annihilation by a numeri-cally superior enemy force, I did not fear the enemy who sought tooverwhelm me on the field of battle.
Never did personal fear enter the situation. I kept remembering the words of my pastor back home. When I was a boy, he would re-cite the Bible story of David and Goliath and others who faced tremendous odds. I knew that same supernatural power was avail-able to those who believed and remained faithful to God’s com-mands. These memories helped to sustain me.
My sense of security was derived from the Christian training af-forded me by my parents. Blessed with a godly mother who served as a Sunday School superintendent, and by a devout father who planted country churches and preached at missions stations, I pos-sessed a protective blanket from caring parents whose chief interestwas serving the Lord. It naturally followed that I would be the ben-eficiary of their petitioning prayers, particularly during my military service.
I served twenty months in combat, with 133 consecutive days of contact with the enemy (a World War II record). It is a miracle of God’s grace and care that I received no wounds or injuries and re-turned home safely after front-line fighting through North Africa, Italy, France, Germany, and Austria. I give God the praise and the glory for His protection.
The Lord laid down His life for all who would believe and ac-cept His gift of grace. Through His resurrection, victory over Satan was won and the plan of salvation became a living truth. That is vic-tory in its highest form.