Tennessee's Participation In WWII

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Tennessee’s Participation in WWII Tennessee had a profound participation in the war efforts of World War II. Tennessee alone had seven Congressional Medal of Honor recipients including; “Raymond Cooley, Charles Coolidge, Paul Huff, Elbert Kinser, Charles McGaha, Vernon McGarity, and John Willis.” (C. Douglas Sterner) “More than 300,000 Tennesseans served in the armed forces; the 5,731 Tennesseans who died in the war made the ultimate sacrifice… In addition, Tennessee became the site of numerous military installations, training facilities, and prisoner of war camps during the war, and 280,000 Tennesseans worked in war manufacturing.” (Patricia Brake) “In the late 1930s, Tennesseans and many American continued to struggle against economic…show more content…
In 1941 fewer than 4,000 African Americans were serving in the military and only twelve African Americans had become officers. By 1945, more than 1.2 million African Americans would be serving in uniform on the Home Front, in Europe, and the Pacific (including thousands of African American women in the Women’s auxiliaries).” (African Americans in World War…show more content…
Coolidge is the last living recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor for Tennessee’s soldiers involved in World War II. After months of training, Coolidge descended into the waters off of the shore of Northern Africa, where some of the men drowned before they could even reach shore. Where, “for more than a year, he had chased the retreating Germans through Europe…As Coolidge’s unit went up the boot of Italy and crossed the Rapido River to engage the Germans at Monte Cassino, the fighting was vicious and the American losses heavy — more than 2,300 casualties.” (Jessica Bliss) In the midst of battle, no more than 25 yards away from enemy tanks, stood Charles Coolidge. German soldiers encouraged him and his men to surrender, but Coolidge was not about to take the orders of an enemy. The tanks shot at him five times at point blank range, and five times Coolidge dodged them and made a fool of their efforts. “It would later be reported that Coolidge and his men killed 26 Germans and wounded 60 others in that battle that day, but because of the enemy’s superior armor, eventually Coolidge was forced to direct a withdrawal — making sure to be the last to leave the position.” (Jessica Bliss) For this exact moment, Coolidge was awarded the Medal of Honor and he became Tennessee’s bravest

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