Sunday, February 27, 2011

SFC Shawn M. Coolidge, United States Army

Shawn Coolidge was born December 17, 1970 in New York, New York. He died on February 17, 2011, at the age of 40, at his home in Killeen, Texas, a casualty of the PTSD with which he battled for years.

Shawn graduated from Lake Placid High School in 1989 and entered into active service with the United States Army in June, 1991 as a M1 armor crewman. At the time of his death he was a Sergeant First Class, assigned to the United States Army Operational Test Command at Fort Hood, Texas.

Shawn’s service included tours of duty in Iraq from November 2005 to November 2006 and from March 2008 to March 2009.

His many military awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, five Army Commendation medals and seven Army Achievement Medals. Among his assignments was as a Drill Sergeant.

A Memorial Service was held on February 25 at the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery at Killeen, Texas. Present were the Patriot Guard Riders to form a line of American flags around the memorial shelter.

The service commenced with Army Chaplain Captain Rittmaster telling Chuck Norris jokes, as Shawn was a great fan of Chuck Norris jokes. One such joke: Chuck Norris doesn’t have to reset his clock in the spring and fall, because the sun rises and sets in Chuck Norris.

Captain Rittmaster then spoke of Shawn’s pain and suffering, and of how he could no longer live with it.

Captain Rittmaster led the gathered family, friends and fellow soldiers in the recitation of the 23rd Psalms. He concluded the service with: “Unto Almighty God we commend the soul of our brother departed, and we commit his body to the ground; earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust; in sure and certain hope of the Resurrection unto eternal life, through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The United States Army Honor Guard then rendered full military honors. The detail of seven rifles standing in the dappled shade of live oak trees, fired three volleys of fire, representing Duty, Honor and Country. The Army bugler, standing on the hill above, played taps, as all present stood at attention.

Six members of the Honor Guard then carefully unfolded the American flag that had rested against Shawn’s Urn, and refolded it into the traditional triangle, as is the custom when there is no coffin for the flag to drape.

The folded flag was then presented to an Army Staff Sergeant, who then passed it to Major General Genaro Dellarocco, Commanding General of the Army Test and Evaluation Command.

General Dellarocco presented the flag to Shawn’s dear wife, Jennifer, on behalf of the President of the United States, the United States Army and a grateful nation in thanks for Shawn’s many years of dedicated service to his country.

General Dellarocco also presented flags to Shawn’s son, Jarred, daughter, Makensee and to Shawn’s mother.

SFC Shawn M. Coolidge was then laid to rest in a special area at the base of the hill, as the American flag flew at half-staff above in his honor.

Left to cherish his memory are his wife and children, his parents, many other family and friends, and multitudes of fellow soldiers.

The family requests that donations be made to the Wounded Warrior Project,

“Always and everywhere, we live with personal remembrances of devoted loved ones and, under God, render thanks and Praise to Him for the promise of everlasting life. This truth is perceived by us on a day to day basis as we note the sacrificial acts and personal commitment of our Veterans. Their upholding of such essential values as liberty and justice, individual dignity and national righteousness, ennobles the life of each of us. Through their example we move toward eternity with faith, charity, courage and hope.

The line of life between birth and immortality is one of no certain length. In considering this, as we bid farewell to this honored, respected Veteran, may we be ever more thoughtful, grateful and humble before our Creator as we all await our heavenly reunion.”
Author unknown

With thanks to Crawford-Bowers Funeral Home and the United States Army for biographical information.


  1. Gods speed!!! Sgt 7th grp

  2. I served with SFC Coolidge from1995 until 1997 wich included a tour in Kuwait. He was a dear friend and an outstanding soldier. I will always remember him. Garry Owen SFC Coolidge

  3. Oh Cooly! I wish I would have known you were in trouble. May God look after his Family. It was an honor and privilege to Serve With him.