Signal Mountain resident Charles Coolidge, 92, will be one of a dozen World War II Medal of Honor recipients to be featured on a new set of stamps issued by the U.S. Postal Service this month.
The first day of issue for the “World War II Medal of Honor” Forever stamps will be Veterans Day, Nov. 11. A special stamp dedication ceremony honoring Coolidge will be held Nov. 13 at Signal Crest United Methodist Church.
Coolidge, for whom Chattanooga’s downtown riverfront park is named, was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1945.
Coolidge earned the medal during a four-day battle that began on Oct. 24, 1944, in Belmont sur Buttant, France. The then-U.S. Army Sgt. Coolidge took battlefield command of a group of recently arrived soldiers when they ran into a German infantry company escorted by tanks.
The German company repeatedly assaulted Coolidge’s heavy machine gun unit, but the men repelled the attacks.
At one point, “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,” according to the official citation.
Out of the more than 16 million Americans who served in the Armed Forced during World War II, 464 received the Medal of Honor. Nearly half of received the honor posthumously, and only nine are alive today, a release from the Postal Service stated. Three of those included on the stamp sheet died before the new set was completed.
In its statement, the Postal Service said they were “including the photographs of the living recipients on the stamp sheet as an appropriate way to recognize the living while still paying respect to all 464 recipients whose names are included in the Medal of Honor World War II Forever stamp prestige folio.”
For more information, read Tuesday’s Times Free Press.