Remembering a Home Town Hero

Thursday, 25 May 2023 20:04

Remembering a Home Town Hero Featured

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Captain Clarence Coggins Captain Clarence Coggins Photo from the LeFlore County Historical Society

Poteau, OKLAHOMA - In honor of Memorial Day, the LeFlore County Historical would like to pay tribute to Captain Clarence Coggins.

Coggins was a 1937 graduate of Poteau High School and attended Oklahoma A&M College.

He joined the 45th Division and served in the 179th Infantry in the U.S. Army.

In 1944, 1st Lt. Clarence Coggins was captured by German Forces while on reconnaissance northeast of Grenoble.

Coggins single handedly convinced the German major that escape from Allied troops was impossible. On August 25, 1944, all of that German troop surrendered to Coggins.

The official terms showed that he had captured 942 enlisted men and 17 officers. Vast amounts of equipment were turned over to authorities at Grenoble, France. Because of this, at only 24 years old, he was immediately promoted to the rank of Captain.

Captain Coggins passed away on January 7, 1945, in France during the Battle of the Bulge.


He received 2 Silver Stars, 1 Bronze Star, 4 Oak Leaf Clusters, 2 Purple Hearts and the Gold Star.

You can learn more about Captain Coggins and other hometown heroes at the LeFlore County Museum located at 303 Dewey Avenue in Poteau.

Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11am until 3pm. 

David Deaton

Digital Editor at Oklahoma Welcome

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