Group Petitions Trump For State Funeral To Honor Last WWII MoH Recipient

The Army Congressional Medal of Honor

There were 484 Medals of Honor awarded in World War II. Of those 484. only 198 were alive when they were presented with the nation’s highest honor.

Now, there are only four living WWII Congressional Medal of Honor recipients left. The youngest, Frank Currey is 92.

A grassroots campaign has begun to convince President Trump to authorize a state funeral for the last of the four to pass away. Bill McNutt, chairman of the State Funeral for WWII Veterans group was interviewed by Stars and Stripes:

“We are petitioning the president that when the last of these four heroes leave us, they be given a state funeral in Washington, D.C. America hasn’t had a state funeral in 14 years, since Ronald Reagan died,” he said. “Most people don’t know what a state funeral is. The country is so desperate for something that is unifying, not political, yet patriotic. This is all of those things. “

Click to go to the Change.Org petition for a state funeral for the last WWII MoH veteran

McNutt emphasizes that the state funeral will not only celebrate the life and sacrifice of this last WWII veteran to be awarded the Medal of Honor, but also will serve as a national thanks for all who served, and many times died, to rid the world of fascism.

According to Stars and Stripes, “Non-president state funerals have been held infrequently in America’s history. The last was in 1964 for five-star General of the Army Douglas MacArthur. President John F. Kennedy had authorized the state funeral, and his successor, Lyndon Johnson, carried out the designation after Kennedy was assassinated in 1963.”

The Final Four

Robert Dale Maxwell, Technician Fifth Grade, U.S. Army (age 97)

Congressional Medal of Honor citation:

“For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty on 7 September 1944, near Besancon, France.  

Technician 5th Grade Maxwell and 3 other soldiers, armed only with .45 caliber automatic pistols, defended the battalion observation post against an overwhelming onslaught by enemy infantrymen in approximately platoon strength, supported by 20mm. flak and machinegun fire, who had infiltrated through the battalion’s forward companies and were attacking the observation post with machinegun, machine pistol, and grenade fire at ranges as close as 10 yards.  Despite a hail of fire from automatic weapons and grenade launchers, Technician 5th Grade Maxwell aggressively fought off advancing enemy elements and, by his calmness, tenacity, and fortitude, inspired his fellows to continue the unequal struggle.  When an enemy hand grenade was thrown in the midst of his squad, Technician 5th Grade Maxwell unhesitatingly hurled himself squarely upon it, using his blanket and his unprotected body to absorb the full force of the explosion.  This act of instantaneous heroism permanently maimed Technician 5th Grade Maxwell, but saved the lives of his comrades in arms and facilitated maintenance of vital military communications during the temporary withdrawal of the battalion’s forward headquarters.”       

Charles Henry Coolidge, Technical Sergeant, U.S. Army (age 96)

Congressional Medal of Honor 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.”

Hershel Woodrow “Woody” Williams, Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps (age 94)

Congressional Medal of Honor citation:

“For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as demolition sergeant serving with the 21st Marines, 3d Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, 23 February 1945.  

Quick to volunteer his services when our tanks were maneuvering vainly to open a lane for the infantry through the network of reinforced concrete pillboxes, buried mines, and black volcanic sands, Cpl. Williams daringly went forward alone to attempt the reduction of devastating machinegun fire from the unyielding positions.  Covered only by 4 riflemen, he fought desperately for 4 hours under terrific enemy small-arms fire and repeatedly returned to his own lines to prepare demolition charges and obtain serviced flamethrowers, struggling back, frequently to the rear of hostile emplacements, to wipe out 1 position after another.  On 1 occasion, he daringly mounted a pillbox to insert the nozzle of his flamethrower through the air vent, killing the occupants and silencing the gun; on another he grimly charged enemy riflemen who attempted to stop him with bayonets and destroyed them with a burst of flame from his weapon.  His unyielding determination and extraordinary heroism in the face of ruthless enemy resistance were directly instrumental in neutralizing one of the most fanatically defended Japanese strong points encountered by his regiment and aided vitally in enabling his company to reach its objective.  Cpl. Williams’ aggressive fighting spirit and valiant devotion to duty throughout this fiercely contested action sustain and enhance the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.” 

Francis Sherman “Frank” Currey, Private First Class, U.S. Army (age 92)

Congressional Medal of Honor citation:

“He was an automatic rifleman with the 3d Platoon defending a strong point near Malmedy, Belgium, on 21 December 1944, when the enemy launched a powerful attack.  

Overrunning tank destroyers and antitank guns located near the strong point, German tanks advanced to the 3d Platoon’s position, and, after prolonged fighting, forced the withdrawal of this group to a nearby factory.  Sgt. Currey found a bazooka in the building and crossed the street to secure rockets meanwhile enduring intense fire from enemy tanks and hostile infantrymen who had taken up a position at a house a short distance away.  In the face of small-arms, machinegun, and artillery fire, he, with a companion, knocked out a tank with 1 shot.  Moving to another position, he observed 3 Germans in the doorway of an enemy-held house.  He killed or wounded all 3 with his automatic rifle.  He emerged from cover and advanced alone to within 50 yards of the house, intent on wrecking it with rockets. Covered by friendly fire, he stood erect, and fired a shot which knocked down half of 1 wall.  While in this forward position, he observed 5 Americans who had been pinned down for hours by fire form the house and 3 tanks.  Realizing that they could not escape until the enemy tank and infantry guns had been silenced, Sgt. Currey crossed the street to a vehicle, where he procured an armful of antitank grenades.  These he launched while under heavy enemy fire, driving the tankmen from the vehicles into the house.  He then climbed onto a half-track in full view of the Germans and fired a machinegun at the house.  Once again changing his position, he manned another machinegun whose crew had been killed; under his covering fire the 5 soldiers were able to retire to safety.  Deprived of tanks and with heavy infantry casualties, the enemy was forced to withdraw.  Through his extensive knowledge of weapons and by his heroic and repeated braving of murderous enemy fire, Sgt. Curry was greatly responsible for inflicting heavy losses in men and material on the enemy, for rescuing 5 comrades, 2 of whom were wounded, and for stemming an attack which threatened to flank his battalion’s position.” 

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