Courtesy of the United States Marine Corps:
Brigadier General Harold L Coffman, retired from the Marine Corps, March 1, 1977.
General Coffman was born in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. He is a 1943 graduate of Huntington High School. From 1958-1960, he attended Maryland University and George Washington University, on a part-time basis. He received a degree in Military Science from University of Omaha in 1961 and a Masters Degree in Management from U. S. Naval Postgraduate School at Monterey, California, in 1968.
General Coffman enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1945. After serving tours in the Far East and in the United States and reaching the rank of Sergeant, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant on June 4, 1948.
His first assignment after The Basic School at Quantico, Virginia, in 1949, was as a Platoon Commander with Weapons Battalion, Second Marine Division at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. In 1950, he was assigned as a Platoon Commander with Antitank Company, First Marine Division, in Korea. For his service in Korea, he received the Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V”; the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat “V”; and the Presidential Unit Citation.
Returning stateside in 1951, Lieutenant Coffman assumed duties as Commander of the Marine Detachment, U.S. Naval Disciplinary Command, Portsmouth, Nw Hampshire.
Captain Coffman was ordered to Lima, Ohio, in 1959 as Inspector-Instructor of the 72d Special Infantry Company, USMCR. After three years in this capacity, he was assigned to the Ninth Marines, where he served as Commanding Officer of 4.2 Mortar Company.
In 1957 he began a three-year tour with the Amphibious Warfare School at Quantico; first as a student and later as an instructor. During this time, on July 1, 1958, he was promoted to Major.
After spending a year at University of Omaha, Major Coffman was assigned as Commanding Officer of Marine Barracks, Atsugi, Japan, a post he held for three years.
Returning to the United States in l964, he served a tour as Operations Officer with the G-3 Section of the First Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, Calif. In 1965, Lieutenant Colonel Coffman assumed command of Battalion Landing Team 1/5. He served with this unit at Hawaii and later in Vietnam.
While in Vietnam, he also served as Plans Officer in the G-3 Section of the III Marine Amphibious Force. For his work in Southeast Asia, he was awarded the Legion of Merit with Combat “V”; a second Bronze Star award; the Purple Heart; the Combat Action Ribbon; a third Presidential Unit Citation,; and two Vietnamese Crosses of Gallantry, one personal and one unit award, both with palms.
He returned to California in 1967 as a student at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. Lieutenant Colonel Coffman was assigned to the G-1 Division at Headquarters, Marine Corps in 1968, where he was Allowances Officer and Head, Manpower Control Branch. During this tour, on October 1, 1969, Lieutenant Colonel Coffman was promoted to the rank of Colonel.
Colonel Coffman entered the National War College in Washington, D.C., during 1970 and was graduated prior to being assigned as the Director, 1st Marine Corps District, with his headquarters in New York, on August 10, 1971.
Brigadier General Coffman was promoted to his present rank on July 16, 1973; and assumed duties as the Director, Information Systems Support and Management Divisions, Headquarters, U. S. Marine Corps on that date.
Brigadier General Coffman served as the Assistant Division Commander, 3d Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific, Okinawa, Japan from May 9, 1974 until June 5, 1975. On July 26, 1975 he was assigned as the Inspector General of the Marine Corps at Headquarters Marine Corps, Washington, D.C., serving in this capacity until his retirement. He was awarded a second Legion of Merit at his retirement.
In addition to his above mentioned awards, Brigadier General Coffman also holds the Nary Unit Commendation, the Asiatic-Pacific Medal, the National Defense Service Medal with one Star, the World War II Victory Medal, the Navy Occupation Service Medal, the Korean Service Medal with six battle stars, the United Nations Service Medal, the Vietnamese Campaign Medal with two battle stars and the Vietnamese Service Medal.
General Coffman is scheduled to be buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery on 17 February 2006.
Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard