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Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammerless .32 ACP & Remington Rand M1911A1 .45 ACP - Issued to Major General William Smith Coleman, U.S. Army

Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammerless .32 ACP pistol serial number 560148 and Remington Rand M1911A1 serial number 1810054 .45 ACP pistols - issued to Major General William Smith Coleman, U.S. Army - His Colt 1903 Pocket Hammerless .32 ACP General Officer's pistol was issued to him on October 1, 1966.  Both of these pistols were carried by Major General Coleman during his tours in Vietnam.

Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammerless .32 ACP pistol serial number 560148 - Right side.

Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammerless .32 ACP pistol serial number 560148 - Left side close-up of ordnance mark.

Major General William S. Coleman

Major General William S. Coleman, Commander 6th Readiness Region, 7 June 73 [3-C-357-1/AH-73 Fort Knox, Kentucky, Photo by Mrs. Maria Albertson]

Major General William S. Coleman, U.S. Army
(Active Service 1942 to 1974)
Born 29 January 1919   Iva, South Carolina
1939   Graduate, Clemson A&M College, South Carolina
1940

Commissioned 2LT, Infantry – Reserve
Aug 1939 to Feb 1942   Public High School Teacher, McCormick, SC
Mar 1942   Ordered to Active Duty
Mar 1942 – Feb 1943   Infantry Replacement Center, Camp Wheeler, GA:

Platoon Leader, and Company Commander.

Mar 1943 –May 1944 Participation in Tunisian and Rome-Arno campaigns. North African Theater of Operations, Eastern Base Section:

Company Commander.

June 1944 – June 1945 Participation in Rhineland, Southern France, and Central Europe campaigns.  Office of Strategic Services (OSS), with Seventh Army, Europe: Special Operations Officer, Intelligence Officer.
1945 – 1949   Camp Gordon, Georgia (1945-48):

Company Cdr, Post Adjutant.

Fort Benning, Georgia: Graduate, Infantry Officer Advanced Course (1949)

Oct 1949 – Aug 1951 Involved in withdrawal to and defense of Pusan Perimeter, the subsequent pursuit to the north, the initial encounter with the Chinese in Oct 1950, the withdrawal to South Korea and subsequent counterattacks. 1st Cavalry Division, Japan (Oct 49 to Jun 50) and Korea (Jun 50 to Aug 51):

S-3 and Executive Officer, 1st Bn, 8th Cav Reg’t (Oct 49 to Sep 50);

S-3 and Executive Officer, 8th Cav Regiment (Sep-Nov 1950);

Battalion Commander, 2nd Bn, 8th Cav Regiment (Dec 50-Aug51).

1951 through 1963   Graduate, Command and General Staff College (1951).

Instructor, Infantry School, Fort Benning, Georgia (1951-1955).

Senior Army Advisor to Alaska National Guard (1955-1957).

Office of Secretariat, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington D.C.  (1957-1959). Graduate, Army War College (1960); Staff Officer, Pacific Command, Hawaii (1960-63).

1963-1965   1st Armored Division, Fort Hood, Texas:

Brigade Commander, 1963-1964.

Chief of Staff, 1964-1965.
1965-1967

 

Faculty, Army War College
June 1967 to May 1968

Brigadier General William S. Coleman

Brigadier General William S. Coleman

First Infantry Division (Big red One), South Vietnam:

Assistant Division Commander

May 1968 to Sep 1968

Brigadier General William S. Coleman

MAC-V, Saigon:

Deputy J-3

Sep 1968 to Dec 1968 Re-assigned from MAC-V to 1st Infantry Division after the CG of the 1st ID (MG Keith Ware) was KIA on 13 Sep 1968 First Infantry Division, South Vietnam:

Assistant Division Commander

1969 to 1972

Major General William S. Coleman

Fort Jackson, SC:

Deputy Commanding General (1969-1970);

Commanding General (1970-1972).
1972 to 1973

Major General William S. Coleman

MAC-V, Saigon:

Chief, Army Advisory Group

1973 to 1974

Major General William S. Coleman

US Army Readiness Region VI, Fort Knox, KY:

Commanding General

31 Aug 1974

Major General William S. Coleman's Retirement

Major General William S. Coleman's Retirement

Retired
25 Jul 1977   Death.  Burial at Lebanon Baptist Church, Anderson, SC

Bold Face signifies combat zone assignments.

Brigadier General William S. Coleman and his Helo Crew

Brigadier General William S. Coleman and his Helo Crew.

Brigadier General William S. Coleman, Awards, First Infantry Division (Big Red One)

ATTENTION TO ORDERS - Documenting the award of two Silver Stars, two Distinguished Flying Crosses and two Bronze Star Medals to Brigadier General William S. Coleman, Di An, Vietnam, 5 April 1968.

Major General Keith Ware presents Brigadier General William S. Coleman with awards.

Major General Keith Ware, Medal of Honor recipient, presents Brigadier General William S. Coleman with awards. [121-SIG-0202-4/ACA 6 OFFICIAL U.S. ARMY PHOTO BY: 121ST SIG BN. 1ST INF DIV]

Major General Keith Ware presents Brigadier General William S. Coleman with awards.

Major General Keith Ware (left) and Brigadier General William S. Coleman (right).  Brigadier General Coleman addresses those in attendance following the presentation of awards by MG Ware. [121-SIG-0202-3/ACA 6 OFFICIAL U.S. ARMY PHOTO BY: 121ST SIG BN. 1ST INF DIV]

Major General Keith Ware presents Brigadier General William S. Coleman with awards.

Major General Keith Ware (left) and Brigadier General William S. Coleman (right).  Major General Ware addresses those in attendance following the presentation of awards by MG Ware. [121-SIG-0202-10/ACA 6 OFFICIAL U.S. ARMY PHOTO BY: 121ST SIG BN. 1ST INF DIV]

Major General Keith Ware presents Brigadier General William S. Coleman with awards.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - April 22, 1968 - DFC -- Major General Keith L. Ware, 1st Infantry Division Commander, pins the Distinguished Flying Cross on Brigadier General William S. Coleman at a farewell ceremony for the assistant commander at Di An. (US Army Photo by Sgt Ron Johns.)

Citations and Decorations

  • Distinguished Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters
  • Silver Star with three Oak Leaf Clusters
  • Legion of Merit with one Oak Leaf Cluster
  • Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster
  • Bronze Star Medal with "V" Device
  • Air Medal with thirty-eight Oak Leaf Clusters with "V" Device
  • Joint Service Commendation Medal
  • Army Commendation Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters
  • American Campaign Medal
  • European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with five campaigns and arrowhead
  • World War II Victory Medal
  • Army of Occupation Medal (Germany)
  • National defense Service Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster
  • Korean Service Medal with five campaigns
  • Vietnam Service Medal with five campaigns
  • Order of British Empire (Honorary Member)
  • Republic of Vietnam National Order Fourth Class
  • Republic of Vietnam National Order Fifth Class
  • Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm
  • Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces Honor Medal First Class
  • United Nations Service Medal
  • Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal
  • Presidential Unit Citation (Republic of Korea)
  • Unit Award - Gallantry Cross with Palm
  • Combat Infantryman's Badge

Major General William S. Coleman, USA
(29 January 1919 - 25 July 1977)

Obituary of MG William Coleman from The State newspaper, Columbia, SC, July 26, 1977:

Former Ft. Jackson Commander, Gen. W. S. Coleman Dies

Maj. Gen William S. Coleman, who served as Ft. Jackson commanding general from July 1970 to May 1972, died Monday at Moncrief Army Hospital after a long illness.  He was 58.

While serving as the 26th commanding general of Fort Jackson, he saw modernization of the fort, including the new hospital he called “the most modern in the Southeast” in terms of equipment and overall design.

Gen. Coleman, an Iva native, was reared in Anderson.  He was a 1939 graduate of Clemson College, receiving a commission as a second lieutenant of Infantry through the ROTC program.   He taught high school in McCormick for a time after graduation, shortly thereafter assuming his initial duties in the inactive reserves as an infantry unit commander at Camp Wheeler, Ga.  He then served some 15 months with the Eastern Base Section in North Africa.

Upon activation of the U.S. Seventh Army for the invasion of Southern France in June 1944, Gen. Coleman was assigned to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) as special operations and intelligence officer with the Seventh Army Headquarters until the end of World War II.

Following his return to the United States in August 1945, Gen. Coleman served at Camp Gordon, Ga., as a company commander and adjutant, and was integrated into the Regular Army in July 1946.

Gen. Coleman attended the Infantry Officer Advanced Course at Ft. Benning, Ga., from 1948-1949.  He then served for two years during the Korean War with the 1st Cavalry Division during which time he was assigned to the First Battalion S-3 and executive officer, the regimental S-3 and executive officer, 8th Cavalry Regiment, and commanded the 2nd Battalion.

During his service with the division, the regiment was involved in the withdrawal to and defense of the Pusan Perimeter, the subsequent pursuit to the north, the initial encounter with the Chinese in October 1950, the withdrawal to South Korea and subsequent counterattacks to the north.

He attended the Command and General Staff College at Ft. Leavenworth, Kan., in 1951 and was for three years an instructor in the Tactics Department of the Infantry School at Ft. Benning, Ga.

His next assignment during 1955-57 was as Senior Army Advisor to the Alaska National Guard in Juneau, Alaska.  Upon his return in July 1957, he served with the Secretariat, Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington, prior to attending the Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, graduating with the class of 1960.He was then assigned to the Joint Staff of the Pacific Command in Hawaii, where he served until 1963 in the General War Plans and Policy section of the Plans Division.

In August 1963 he assumed command of the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division (Old Ironsides) at Ft. Hood, Tex., and then served for a year as Division Chief of Staff until July 1965.

He was next assigned to the U.S. Army Combat Developments Command Institute of Advanced Studies at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, until joining the faculty of the Army War College in June 1966 as Director of Course I and International Relations Studies.

Gen. Coleman served two tours of duty in Vietnam during the period from 1965 to 1973.  In his first tour of duty there he served as the Assistant Division Commander, 1st Infantry Division and later as Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff, Plans and Operation, U.S. Military Assistance Command.

The Commanding General, 1st Infantry Division for that period, Lt. Gen. (then Maj. Gen.) Orwin Talbott recently said of Gen. Coleman’s tour of duty with the Division:

“Of all the great soldiers I knew and was associated with in Vietnam, there was not one I admired more than Bill Coleman.  I have many times referred to him as being of pure gold.  Nothing could be truer.”

During his second tour in Vietnam, Gen. Coleman served as Chief, Army Advisory Group, USMACV.

On January 6, 1969, Gen. Coleman became the Deputy Commanding General of Fort Jackson, during which time he was instrumental in making the fort one of the prime training installations in the country for basic, advanced infantry and combat support trainees.  He assumed command of the post on July 15, 1970.

He served as commanding general at Ft. Jackson until July 2, 1972, when he transferred to the Military Assistance Command in Vietnam.

Gen. Coleman retired Sept. 1, 1974, after more than 32 years service with the Army as commanding general of the U.S. Army Readiness Region VI at Ft. Knox, Ky., where he oversaw the transition from the old system of local reserve unit advisors to the more sophisticated Readiness Region concept.

He is a graduate of the Infantry School, the Command and General Staff College, the Army War College and was awarded a master’s degree in International Affairs by George Washington University in 1966.

His decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Silver Star with three Oak Leaf Clusters, the Legion of Merit with one Oak Leaf Cluster, the Bronze Star Medal with the “V” device, and the Air Medal with 38 Oak Leaf Clusters with the “V” device.

Gen. Coleman is survived by his widow, the former Ruth Ducworth of Anderson, and four children, Susan Coleman Fedor, Nancy Coleman Hart, 2nd Lieutenant William S. Coleman, Jr., and Mary Leon Coleman.

Funeral plans will be announced and the family will receive friends at Dunbar Funeral Home, Gervais Street Chapel, tonight from 7 to 9 p.m.

The family suggests that those who may wish may make memorials to the 1st Infantry Scholarship Fund or a charity.

Highest Awards and Decorations

  • Distinguished Service Medal (with two oak leaf clusters)
Award: Army Distinguished Service Medal
Date of action: June 1967 - December 1968
Theater: Vietnam War
Reason: The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Army Distinguished Service Medal to Brigadier General William S. Coleman (ASN: 0-35710), United States Army, for exceptionally meritorious and distinguished services to the Government of the United States, in a duty of great responsibility, during the period from June 1967 through December 1968.

General Orders: Department of the Army, General Orders No. 7 (January 29, 1969)

  • Silver Star (with three oak leaf clusters)
1. TC320. The following AWARD is announced.

COLEMAN, WILLIAM S. O35710 BRIGADIER GENERAL United States Army
Headquarters and Headquarters Company 1st Infantry Division

AWARD OF THE SILVER STAR

Award: Silver Star
Date of action: 24 July 1950
Theater: Korean War, Headquarters, 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division
Reason: The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Major (Infantry) William S. Coleman (ASN: 0-35710), United States Army, for gallantry in action as a member of Headquarters, 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, in action against the enemy near Yongdong, Korea, on 24 July 1950. Major Coleman observed that part of the battalion line was falling back in the face of an overwhelming enemy attack. Immediately he crossed open ground exposed to enemy artillery, mortar and automatic small arms fire and, rallying the troops, led them in reestablishing their position. By his coolness under fire and fearless leadership he inspired his men to hold the enemy and deliver effective fire which inflicted heavy casualties upon the hostile force. Major Coleman's heroic actions reflect great credit upon himself and the traditions of the Armed Forces.

General Orders: Headquarters, 1st Cavalry Division, General Orders No. 95 (September 12, 1951)

Authority: By direction of the President, under the provisions of the Act of Congress, approved 9 July 1918.

 

Award: Silver Star (First Oak Leaf Cluster)
Date of action: 31 October 1967
Theater: Republic of Vietnam
Reason: For gallantry in action against a hostile force:  On this date, during Operation Shenandoah II, General Coleman was flying in his command and control helicopter over the embattled Special Forces camp at Loc Ninh. The besieged camp was being subjected to intensive mortar and rocket fire and massive Viet Cong human wave assaults.  In spite of the extreme concentrated volume of antiaircraft fire being directed against his helicopter from several directions, General Coleman remained over the battle site assessing the tactical situation.  With complete disregard for his personal safety, he ordered his pilot to make low level sweeps over the enemy forces so that he could determine the location of hostile mortar and rocket emplacements and troop concentrations. Ignoring the constant danger from the hail of hostile ground fire, General Coleman leaned precariously out of the door of the aircraft in an effort to pinpoint the insurgent positions.  He observed that the defensive bunkers, from which the Army of the republic of Vietnam and Special Forces troops were defending their position, were being subjected to heavy Viet Cong rocket fire and rendered ineffective.  He then located the enemy rocket emplacements and directed the fire of helicopter gunships on them with devastating effectiveness.  Refusing to maneuver out of range of the Viet Cong antiaircraft fire, General Coleman remained over the embattled area during the entire conflict in order to adjust highly accurate supporting artillery fire onto the enemy force.  This suppressive fire enabled the friendly ground force to gain fire superiority and repel the insurgent assaults.  His outstanding display of aggressiveness, courage and leadership was responsible for inflicting heavy losses in men and material upon the enemy force and bringing about its overwhelming defeat.  Brigadier General Coleman's unquestionable valor while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an insurgent force is in keeping with the finest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, the 1st Infantry Division, and the United States Army.
Authority: By direction of the President, under the provisions of the Act of Congress, approved 9 July 1918.

 

Award: Silver Star (Second Oak Leaf Cluster)
Date of action: 6 February 1968
Theater: Republic of Vietnam
Reason:

For gallantry in action against a hostile force:  On this date, Brigadier General Coleman was flying in his command and control helicopter overwatching a heavy engagement taking place on the ground between a friendly mechanized infantry battalion and a Viet Cong force.  The acting division commander, also in a command and control ship was below General Coleman's ship.  Suddenly, the Viet Cong opened fire with heavy machineguns.  General Coleman immediately saw that the commanding general's ship had been hit.  The enemy fire had killed the doorgunner and wounded a general staff officer onboard.  General Coleman realized that the damage to the aircraft was of such magnitude that the ship had lost the capability to take evasive action.  The enemy fire continued, trying to find its mark against the floundering and smoking aircraft.  General Coleman brought his ship down on the enemy gun position at low level with his doorgunners delivering heavy suppressive fire.  The presentation of his ship as a target caused the enemy to turn their fire on him.  By repeated low level passes and a continuation of heavy suppressive fire by General Coleman, the commanding general's aircraft was able to clear the embattled area and glide safely to a forced landing in a secure area.  Assured of the safety of his superior, General Coleman turned his attention to destroying the enemy antiaircraft positions.  The Viet Cong had chosen an excellent firing position in a draw that had no clearly identifiable terrain feature by which aerial observers could adjust fire.  Consequently, General Coleman remained at low level in order not to lose sight of the location of the enemy weapons.  He personally directed the placement of artillery fire and the fire of gunships, not leaving his vulnerable position until devastating and effective firepower had been repeatedly placed upon the insurgent position.  Had it not been for the daring, immediate and aggressive action of General Coleman, the acting commanding general's aircraft, in its helpless situation, would have afforded an east target for the enemy gun positions and undoubtedly been lost.  Brigadier General Coleman's unquestionable valor while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an insurgent force is in keeping with the finest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, the 1st Infantry Division, and the United States Army.

Brigadier General Coleman's gallantry in action was in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the 1st Infantry Division, and the United States Army.

Authority: By direction of the President, under the provisions of the Act of Congress, approved 9 July 1918.

 

Award: Silver Star (Third Oak Leaf Cluster)
Date of action: 17 October 1967
Theater: Republic of Vietnam
Reason: For gallantry in action while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam:  Brigadier General Coleman distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions in 17 October 1967 while supporting troops of his division during a search and destroy operation in enemy territory.  As the friendly force moved into a densely foliated area it was subjected to intense grenade, small arms and automatic weapons fire by a numerically superior combined force of Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Regulars.  General Coleman immediately flew to the battle area in his command and control helicopter.  Due to the dense foliage, his visibility of the ground action was extremely limited.  With complete disregard for his personal safety, he ordered his pilot to fly at treetop level, fully exposed to the enemy fire.  He quickly located the friendly and hostile positions and directed the defenders' firepower on the assaulting insurgents.  He realized that an acute need for medical supplies for the wounded had developed and flew to a nearby fire support base, picked up medical supplies and quickly returned to the beleaguered force.  There was only one suitable drop zone in the area, and it was necessary for the aircraft to hover approximately fifty feet above the ground while the supplies were dropped.  Enemy fire directed at the aircraft increased, but general Coleman remained in the vulnerable position until the drop had been successfully accomplished.  Continuing his mission, General Coleman sighted twenty to thirty soldiers who had been cut off from the main element and were threatened by friendly artillery and the Viet Cong.  Without communication, he directed his aircraft low over the men and successfully guided them towards the main force's defensive position.  Remaining low and still receiving enemy fire, he adjusted artillery and air strikes against the insurgents with devastating effectiveness and successfully repelled their repeated attempts to overrun the friendly force.  He then landed, regrouped his men and directed the evacuation of causalities.  Brigadier General Coleman's gallantry in action was in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the 1st Infantry Division, and the United States Army.
Authority: By direction of the President, under the provisions of the Act of Congress, approved 9 July 1918.
  • Legion of Merit (with one oak leaf cluster)
     
  • Distinguished Flying Cross (with one oak leaf cluster)
     

AWARD OF THE DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS

1. TC320. The following AWARD is announced.

COLEMAN, WILLIAM S. O35710 BRIGADIER GENERAL United States Army
Headquarters and Headquarters Company 1st Infantry Division
 

Award: Distinguished Flying Cross
Date of action: 13 September 1967
Theater: Republic of Vietnam
Reason: For heroism while participating in aerial flights:  On this date, Brigadier General Coleman was flying in his command and control helicopter over the village of Chanh Luu, which had been determined to be the base of operations of a large Viet Cong force.  As Friendly ground forces were sealing the enemy village, General Coleman spotted a number of insurgents escaping through a sector which had not yet been sealed.  Disregarding his personal safety, he ordered his pilot to make low level sweeps over the embattled area as he directed his door gunner's fire onto the insurgents.  Remaining over the hazardous area, he guided friendly ground forces to the enemy position where they found two dead and three wounded Viet Cong and documents which proved to be of great intelligence value.  General Coleman then resumed his low level passes over the enemy village, marking its location for helicopter gunships and enabling them to place devastating fire upon the insurgent stronghold.  His skillful leadership and high degree of professionalism contributed immeasurably to the successful sealing of the Viet Cong infested village with a minimum of danger to the friendly ground forces.  Brigadier General Coleman's actions are in keeping with the finest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the 1st Infantry Division, and the United States Army.
Authority: By direction of the President, under the provisions of the Act of Congress, approved 2 July 1926.

 

Award: Distinguished Flying Cross (First Oak Leaf Cluster)
Date of action: 11 December 1967
Theater: Republic of Vietnam
Reason: For heroism while participating in aerial flights:  On this date, Brigadier General Coleman was serving as assistant division commander of the 1st Infantry Division.  He was making an aerial reconnaissance by helicopter of the area surrounding Song Be, recently established as the operations sector of one of the division's battalions.  The hilly terrain necessitated that the aircraft make continuous low passes in order for General Coleman to obtain the surveillance desired.  On one such pass the craft was subjected to an intensive burst of automatic weapons fire.  General Coleman immediately ordered his pilot to take evasive actions.  However, he had the aircraft remain at a low and vulnerable level so that he could keep the source of the hostile weapons' flash accurately located.  General Coleman then guided an aerial observer to the target, but the artillery rounds fired were only partially effective.  With complete disregard for his personal safety, he then had his aircraft fly at a vulnerable altitude, fully exposed to the enemy position, and he adjusted the artillery until maximum effective fire was placed on the target.  Throughout this entire period, the general's craft remained at a low level so that he could insure that no insurgents escaped the devastating  fire.  The outstanding courage and aggressiveness displayed by General Coleman during extreme peril were an inspiration to his men and directly responsible for the annihilation of the enemy position.  Brigadier General Coleman's actions are in keeping with the finest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the 1st Infantry Division, and the United States Army.
Authority: By direction of the President, under the provisions of the Act of Congress, approved 2 July 1926.

 

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