Medal of Honor Recipients
The Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force that can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States. Recipients receive the Medal of Honor from the president on behalf of Congress. It was first awarded during the Civil War and eligibility criteria for the Medal of Honor have changed over time.
Recipients buried or memorialized here:
Technical Sergeant Charles H. Coolidge (World War II). Coolidge was born in Signal Mountain, TN, on August 4, 1921. He graduated from Chattanooga High School in 1940 and worked in his family's printing business until drafted in June 1942. He went overseas with the 36th Infantry Division in spring 1943 and saw action in North Africa and Italy, earning the Silver Star. From October 24–27, 1944, Coolidge led an untested machine gun section, protecting his battalion's flank near Belmont-sur-Buttant, France. Facing a superior German force supported by armor, Coolidge frequently put himself in harm's way and repulsed numerous attacks. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for this action. He returned to the print shop after the war, raised a family, and spoke often of his wartime experience. He died on April 6, 2021, and was buried alongside his wife, Frances in Section BB, Site 474-A.
Master Sergeant Ray E. Duke (Korea). He received the Medal of Honor posthumously for service in the U.S. Army, Company C, 21st Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division, in recognition of conspicuous gallantry and outstanding courage near Mugok, Korea, April 26, 1951. He was last seen firing into the ranks of onrushing assailants. Duke is buried in Section Z, Site 373.
Corporal Desmond T. Doss (World War II). Desmond Doss was born in Lynchburg, Virginia, in 1919. He was working in the Newport News shipyard when he was drafted into World War II. Based on his religious beliefs, Doss refused to carry a weapon or kill an enemy soldier so he served in the U.S. Army as a medic in the Pacific Theater: Guam, the Philippines, and Japan. He received two Bronze Stars, and the Medal of Honor for saving the lives of 75 comrades during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945, despite being severely wounded. Doss was the first conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor, which was presented by President Harry Truman. Doss contracted tuberculosis in 1946, died from respiratory complications in 2006, and is buried in Section P, Site 6399-A.
Private Samuel Robertson (Civil War). Robertson was one of the first recipients of the Medal of Honor for actions during "The Great Locomotive Chase" at Big Shanty, Georgia, in April 1862. He served in the U.S. Army, Company G, 33rd Ohio Infantry, and died June 18, 1862. His award was posthumous. Private Robertson is buried in Section H, Site 11177.
Sergeant Major Marion A. Ross (Civil War). Ross was one of the first recipients of the Medal of Honor for actions during "The Great Locomotive Chase" at Big Shanty, Georgia, in April 1862. He served in the U.S. Army, 2nd Ohio Infantry, and died June 18, 1862. His award was posthumous. Sergeant Major Ross is buried in Section H, Site 11179.
Sergeant John M. Scott (Civil War). Scott was one of the first recipients of the Medal of Honor for actions during "The Great Locomotive Chase" at Big Shanty, Georgia, in April 1862. He served in the U.S. Army, Company F, 21st Ohio Infantry, and died June 18, 1862. His award was posthumous. Sergeant Scott is buried in Section H, Site 11182.
Sergeant Samuel Slavens (Civil War). Slavens was one of the first recipients of the Medal of Honor for actions during "The Great Locomotive Chase" at Big Shanty, Georgia, in April 1862. He served in the U.S. Army, Company E, 33rd Ohio Infantry, and died June 18, 1862. He was the last participant in the 1862 raid so recognized, posthumously, in 1883. Slavens is buried in Section H, Site 11176.
Private William F. Zion (Boxer Rebellion). Zion received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps for actions during the Boxer Rebellion, Peking, China, from July 21–August 17, 1900. He also served in the U.S. Army, attaining the rank of First Lieutenant. Zion died in 1919 and is buried in Section U, Site 40 South Side.
Revolutionary War Veteran S. Miller, (Section B, Site 830).
Prisoners of War
Chattanooga is the only national cemetery that has both World War I and World War II foreign POWs reinterred. There are 186 POWs from both wars.
Seventy-eight are World War I German POWs, twenty-two part of group burials (Post C Graves 66, 67 and 68); and 108 POWs are from World War II consisting of 105 Germans, one French, one Italian and one Pole.
Juanita Dixon Walker was born June 21, 1916, in Dunn, LA, and she married Melvin Turnley Walker (1914–1948) before November 1942. Melvin Walker enlisted in 1937 and served in the Army Air Corps until his death in 1948. Juanita Walker started her career with what became the National Cemetery Administration (NCA) at Chattanooga National Cemetery, TN. She became NCA's first female cemetery director in 1974 when named the superintendent of Lebanon National Cemetery, KY. Walker served at cemeteries at Mountain Home and Memphis, TN, and Los Angeles, CA, before retiring in 1986. She died December 17, 2000, and is buried in Chattanooga National Cemetery (Section DD-2, Site 50).
Born in Michigan in 1850, teacher Sara Wiltse advocated for kindergarten as an educational prerequisite to elementary school. She studied childhood development, wrote children's stories, and edited a volume of Grimm's Fairy Tales. Wiltse's prominent research is reflected in presentations to the National Education Association and contributions to the American Journal of Psychology. Her books continue to influence teaching. Wiltse died on May 12, 1932. She was buried at Chattanooga National Cemetery with her brother Jason, a Civil War veteran who died in 1874 (Section P, Site 6428).