Veterans Day

I didn’t know much about my family’s history with the military before I joined the Marine Corps. In fact, I didn’t know much at all until long after I left the service. I knew that both of my grandfathers had served in World War 2, but that was about it. My mom’s dad passed away before I was born. By the time I was old enough to ask my dad’s dad about his service, it was too late.

In future posts, I plan to go in to deeper detail about each man’s service. This Veterans Day, I want to pay tribute to both of my grandfathers, as well as my great grandfather who served in World War 1.

2nd Lieutenant Edward M. Coen – World War 1

Branch of Service: United States Army
Dates of Service: 29 August 1917 to 20 June 1919
Specialty: Artillery Officer
Battles/Engagements/Skirmishes: Meuse-Argonne

Edward M. Coen, while attending Yale University, was a member of the Yale Batteries — what was essentially ROTC. After he was called to service, the University presented him with a Bachelor of Arts “Honoris Causa.” He was with the 322nd Field Artillery during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in 1918 — the deadliest battle in American History and the largest/bloodiest operation of World War 1 for the American Expeditionary Force. As a result, he was presented with the Medal of Verdun.

The certificate that accompanied his Medal of Verdun reads:

aux grand chefs – aux officiers – aux soldats – a tous, heros connus et anonymes, vivants et morts, qui ont triomphe de l’avalance des barbares et immortalise son nom a travers le monde et pour les siecles futurs, la ville de verdun, inviolee et debout sur ses ruines, dedie cette medaille en temoignage de sa reconnaissance

to the great chiefs – to the officers – to the soldiers – to all, known and anonymous heroes, alive and dead, who have triumphed over the barbarians and immortalized his name throughout the world and for future centuries, the city of Verdun, inviolate and standing on its ruins, dedicates this medal in testimony of its gratitude

The letter that was also sent reads:

comme suite a votre demande j’ai l’honneur de vous informer que je vous expedie ce jour la medaille de verdun; vous trouverez dans la presente le diplome indiquant que votre nom a ete inscrit sur le livre d’or des soldats de verdun.
veuillez agreer, monsieur et cher camarade, l’expression de mes sentiments les meilleurs

as a result of your request I have the honor to inform you that I am sending you this day the medal of Verdun; you will find in the present the diploma indicating that your name has been inscribed on the guest book of verdun soldiers. please accept, sir and dear fellow, the expression of my best feelings

1st Lieutenant Jack L. Howe, Jr. – World War 2

Branch of Service: United States Army Air Corps
Dates of Service: 3 October 1942 to 1 April 1946
Medically Retired

Technician 5th Grade Kenneth A. Koehneke – World War 2

Branch of Service: United States Army
Dates of Service: 20 November 1942 to 14 February 1946
Specialty: Medical Technician
Deployed to: Philippines

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