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First Name: Raymond

Last Name: Cooley

Birthplace: Dunlap, TN, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Richard City, TN
Middle Name: Henry

Date of Birth: 17 May 1916

Date of Death: 12 March 1947

Rank: Master Sergeant

Years Served:
Raymond Henry Cooley

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Raymond H. Cooley
Master Sergeant, U.S. Army
Medal of Honor Recipient
World War II

Master Sergeant Raymond Henry Cooley (7 May 1916 - 12 March 1947) was a U.S. Army soldier who received the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in the campaign to recapture the Philippines from Japanese forces during World War II. Cooley is one of a only a few known Medal of Honor recipients to have fallen on a grenade and survived.

Raymond H. Cooley was born on 7 May 1916 in Dunlap, TN. He entered the service at Richard City, TN.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company B, 27th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division.

Place and date: Near Lumboy, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 24 February 1945.

Citation: He was a platoon guide in an assault on a camouflaged entrenchment defended by machineguns, rifles, and mortars. When his men were pinned down by 2 enemy machineguns, he voluntarily advanced under heavy fire to within 20 yards of 1 of the guns and attacked it with a hand grenade. The enemy, however, threw the grenade back at him before it could explode. Arming a second grenade, he held it for several seconds of the safe period and then hurled it into the enemy position, where it exploded instantaneously, destroying the gun and crew. He then moved toward the remaining gun, throwing grenades into enemy foxholes as he advanced. Inspired by his actions, 1 squad of his platoon joined him. After he had armed another grenade and was preparing to throw it into the second machinegun position, 6 enemy soldiers rushed at him. Knowing he could not dispose of the armed grenade without injuring his comrades, because of the intermingling in close combat of the men of his platoon and the enemy in the melee which ensued, he deliberately covered the grenade with his body and was severely wounded as it exploded. By his heroic actions, S/Sgt. Cooley not only silenced a machinegun and so inspired his fellow soldiers that they pressed the attack and destroyed the remaining enemy emplacements, but also, in complete disregard of his own safety, accepted certain injury and possible loss of life to avoid wounding his comrades.

Cooley returned home to Tennessee where he, along with fellow Medal of Honor recipients Charles Coolidge and Paul Huff, led a 4th of July celebration in 1946.

Cooley's life after the war was brief and tragic. He was in constant agony from his war wounds and became addicted to both drugs and alcohol.


Highway 28 between Jasper and I-24 in Tennessee is now officially named the Raymond H Cooley Highway.

Death and Burial

Master Sergeant Raymond H. Cooley died in a car accident when he drove into a brick wall on 12 March 1947. It was determined that he had been driving under the influence.

He is buried at Cumberland View Cemetery in Kimball, Marion County, TN.

Honoree ID: 1340   Created by: MHOH




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