General Coffman’s Marine Corps career began in June 1922 when he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant. Following The Basic School, he joined the 1st Brigade Marines in Haiti during March 1924 and began his first tour of expeditionary service.
In March 1927 he joined the 5th Marine Regiment in Nicaragua where he later commanded the Marine Detachment at Dario.
In May 1930 he became the commander of the Marine Detachment aboard the USS Hampton, where he served two years. In July 1932 he became the supply officer of the Fleet Marine Force, and as such, participated in Caribbean maneuvers.
In September of 1935 he served aboard the USS Utah, along with the Fleet Marine Force Staff, and took part in maneuvers off the West Coast.
Coffman’s overseas tours included a stint with the 4th Marines guarding Shanghai’s international settlement during the Sino-Japanese War.
During World War II Coffman participated in the Guadalcanal-Tulagi landings, the capture and defense of Guadalcanal, the Eastern New Guinea operation and the Cape Gloucester campaign.
He earned the Legion of Merit with Combat “V” and the Letter of Commendation Ribbon for outstanding service in 1942 and 1943 as quartermaster of the 1st Marine Division in the Solomon Islands.
During 1944-45 he earned a second Letter of Commendation Ribbon when he served as assistant quartermaster of the Marine Corps Depot of Supplies at San Francisco.
After completing the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, Coffman was promoted to brigadier general in July 1951 and reported for duty at the Marine Corps Depot of Supplies at Albany in January 1952. He became the Commanding General here a few weeks later when the base was officially commissioned.
Coffman was promoted to Major General upon his retirement, July 1, 1955. In addition to his Legion of Merit with Combat “V” and the Letter of Commendation with bronze (star in lieu of a second award), his military awards include the Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon with one star, the Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon, the World War I Victory Medal, the Expeditionary Medal, the Second Nicaraguan Campaign Medal, the China Service Medal, the American Defense Service Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Area Campaign Medal with four bronze stars, the American Area Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal and the National Defense Medal.
His wife, the former Ruth Lumley of Philadelphia; a daughter, Ruth Coffman Barnes; and a son, Raymond P. Coffman Jr, who also served as a Marine officer, survive the General.
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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