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The Life and Death of a WWII Paratrooper in Reports
(All of the documentation is located here)

George Duaane Coulter was born July 16, 1915 and was first in the Army between March 15, 1935 and October 8, 1940 with the Michigan National Guard.  He was a member of Co M of the 126th Infantry Regiment.

Coulter was 28 when he was inducted into the US Army March 28, 1944 at Fort Sheridan, Illinois.  He was married to Edwina with two daughters, Shirley Ann and Barbara Jean Coulter and lived in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  His mother Alice Coulter also lived in Grand Rapids as well. 

Coulter was given an Army Serial Number of 36959773 and was sent to Camp Robinson in Arkansas for his Basic Training.  Private Coulter graduated from Basic Training August 5, 1944 and was then sent to Fort Benning, Georgia to train to become a Paratrooper.

Private Coulter arrived at Fort Benning and was put into the Receiving Company August 9, 1944 and the joined the TPS August 21 and graduated and became a Paratrooper September 15, 1944.

Private Coulter left the New York Port of Entry November 3, 1944 and arrived in the European Theater of Operation November 16, 1944.  Private Coulter they joined the 507th Parachute Infantry of the 17th Airborne Division November 21, 1944.  He they became part of Co D of the 507th Parachute Infantry December 7, 1944. 

The 507th Parachute Infantry flew from England to France December 24, 1944.  They were then being trucked to Mourmelon, France.  Between Thuisy and Reims December 25, 1944 on the way to Mourmelon three men fell off of the truck.  George Coulter was killed after falling off his truck and run over by truck next in line.  He was buried December 26, 1944 at 1445 in the Champigneul Temporary Cemetery.

Coulterís wife Edwina was notified of his death January 14, 1945.   In 1949 Edwina decided to let remains left overseas.  He now lies in the Permanent American Cemetery at Epinal, France.    

Mrs. Edwina Coulter was a widow and never remarried.  She passed away at the age of 93, June 28, 2002.  She left behind two daughters, ten grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.  One of Georgeís and Edwinaís daughters Shirley Jordan is still alive in Michigan it seems.  I hope I will be able to put a face to Mr. George Coulter at some point.

Private George Coulter was the first soldier from the 507th Parachute Infantry to die during the Battle of the Bulge.  The 507th went into action at the start of January 1945. 

Addendum

While searching for a photo of Private Coulter I ran across a photo of his headstone in the Epinal American Cemetery.  They have him listed as being in the 82nd Airborne Division when in fact the 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment left the 82nd Airborne Division August 27, 1944.

The 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment was attached to the 17th Airborne Division the same day August 27, 1944 and became permanently assigned to the 17th Airborne Division on March 1, 1945.  This is the exact same process that the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment went through March 1, 1945.  The 506th has the 101st Airborne Division on all of their headstones. 

Leave it to the ABMC (American Battle Monument Commission) to screw up yet another headstone.  Itís a shame the Veteranís Administration canít take over the ABMC as the VA corrects wrong headstone as soon as they are made aware of it.

It's worse as there are 42 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment men who were killed between December 25, 1945 and March 21, 1945 and buried overseas.  Of the 42 men, 41 of their headstones are wrong.  The headstones should look this one from for Pfc Gilbert Murray.  Two of the other 41 men have the 82nd Airborne Division on the headstones and the remaining 39 men donít mention the 17th Airborne Division at all

The ABMC on the other hand refuses to correct the headstones in their care, even under orders from the Army. 


Brian N. Siddall

November 14, 2019

 


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