Segment 13


Charles Coolidge discusses his reunion with his family. He got to Camp Atterbury and walked to the top Sergeant working for the General and requested to see the Commanding Officer and gave him his name. The General ask for Coolidge to come in and Coolidge introduced himself to the General and then ask for a thirty day leave. The General told him it was a separation center and nobody gets a leave from there. Coolidge restated it and told him he wanted a recuperation leave to which the General replied that he could not. Coolidge said they had a conflict of opinions and suggested the contact the Adjutant Generals Office in Washington to see what he thought about it. The General slid the phone at Coolidge who immediately picked it up and was ready to call. The General ask for the phone back and called for the Sergeant to come in and the Sergeant said he could do it on one condition which was if Coolidge had the Medal of Honor. The General ask if he had the Medal of Honor and Coolidge replied that he did. The General then changed his tone and said they would send him home. Coolidge noted that you had to stand up for your rights. He said they sent him to the railroad station and they wondered why they sent Coolidge over the train station so late and said they should fly him home. The rail man called the General and said they should send Coolidge home by plane. Soon after, the General sent his jeep over with a driver in it. The driver came to Coolidge to take him over to the airport on base to get a plane to take him home. Coolidge went over to the airport and they said they did not have a flight to Chattanooga but after waiting a little while and it was about eight at night before this Colonel walks in and looks at a few maps and asking what type of airport they have in Chattanooga. The Colonel looked at a map and figured it out and then ask the tower where the General was because he saw his jeep outside. Coolidge informed him finally that the General was not there to be flown to Chattanooga but that instead he was flying Coolidge there. The Colonel got mad and stepped outside and said "Let’s go". Coolidge got into the airplane and got fastened into the seat and started to doze off when one of the sergeants on the flight shook him awake and told him the Colonel wanted to talk to him. Coolidge told him to go up and tell the Colonel to fly the plane and get them to Chattanooga and that he was not going to come up and talk. Coolidge says he high tailed it to Chattanooga and the Colonel called the tower for landing instructions. They responded that military planes are not allowed to land at Lovell Field [Annotators note: Chattanooga airport name] The Colonel repeated his request for landing instructions and received the same reply. The Colonel repeated it a third time and told them he was going to land anyway with landing instructions or not. Coolidge remembered he landed the plane in the middle of the field and did not taxi and it was about one thirty in the morning. The Colonel got off and took the military pace and was fuming. Coolidge could see his family and the press and stopped to thank the Sergeants for their help and started double timing to the Colonel to thank him too. When he got to him he told the Colonel that he wanted to thank him for flying him home and said that they had plenty of space for he and the Sergeants to stay the night if they wanted. The Colonel turned and replied that he had instructions to fly him to Chattanooga and return and that is what he intended to do. Coolidge just thanked him and said he hoped he had a nice flight back. He laughed and told the press that he did not have a problem but the pilot did because he had to fly back that night.


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