Coulter, John Breitling, born on 27-04-1891 in San Antonio, Texas. He graduated from West Texas Military Academy in 1911, and in 1912 obtained a commission as a Second Lieutenant of Cavalry.
He initially served with the 14th Cavalry Regiment in Texas until 1916, including participation in the Pancho Villa Expedition. During World War I he served in France as aide-de-camp to General William Abram Mann , the commander of the 42nd nicknamed “Rainbow” Infantry Division. General Mann died age 80 on 08-10-1934 in Washington. After returning to the U.S. for five months as adjutant of the 154th Brigade at Camp Meade, Maryland, Coulter went back to France as commander of 2nd Battalion 508th Pioneer Infantry, an African-American unit.
After the war, Coulter served in the War Department’s Personnel Branch, and then assumed command of 2nd Squadron 14th Cavalry at Fort Des Moines, Iowa. In 1922 he graduated from the Cavalry School and was assigned to the War Department as the Cavalry chief of materiel, later serving as executive officer to the Chief of Cavalry.
Coulter graduated from the Command and General Staff College in 1927, and then took command of a squadron in the 8th Cavalry Regiment at Fort Bliss, Texas, afterwards serving as assistant plans and training officer for the 1st Cavalry Division. He was subsequently assigned to the General Staff’s Military Intelligence Division as a specialist in Latin American affairs.
In 1933 Coulter graduated from the Army War College, and he completed the Naval War College in 1934. In 1938 he was assigned as executive officer of the 4th Cavalry Regiment at Fort Meade, South Dakota, and in 1940 he became the regiment’s commander.
In 1941 Coulter was assigned as commander of the 3rd Cavalry Brigade in Phoeni, Arizona, receiving promotion to Brigadier General. After the attack on Pearl Harbour, his soldiers patrolled the Mexican border, and Coulter received an additional assignment as the Western Defence Command’s commander of the Southern Land Frontier Sector. In early 1942 Coulter was assigned to command 2nd Cavalry Division.
Coulter assumed command of the 85th Infantry Division, nickname “Custer” in 1943, receiving promotion to Major General. After stateside training, he led his division in North Africa and Italy. The 85th Division fought through the Gustav and Gothic Lines during the Rome-Arno, North Apennines and Po Valley campaigns, and Coulter earned a reputation as an expert in military mountaineering and alpine warfare. Assistant Division Commander throughout the war was Brigadier General Lee Saunders Gerow. Through the campaign, the division suffered some 7.268 casualties with 1.717 killed In action. Three soldiers from this division earned the Medal of Honor.
After World War II, Coulter returned to the U.S. as commander of the Infantry Replacement Center at Fort McClellan, Alabama, and then was assigned as deputy commander of Fourth Army at Ford Houston, Texas.
In 1948 he went to Korea as commander of the 7th Infantry Division. In 1949 he was appointed deputy commander of U.S. forces in Korea, and then commanded I Corps until its deactivation in 1950. Coulter was then assigned as deputy commander of Fifth Army, headquartered in Chicago. General Coulter retired from the Army in 1952.
During 1956 General Coulter also advised U.N. Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld on peacekeeping forces during the Suez Crisis.
In 1959, Syngman Rhee, still the President of South Korea, erected a statue of Coulter to recognize his efforts to rebuild South Korea. The statue originally stood in the Itaewon District of Seoul. It was rededicated in 1977, and now stands at Seoul’s San 18, Neung-dong, Kwangjin-gu.
In the 1960s, Coulter was President of the Korean Cultural and Freedom Foundation, an organization formed to recognize Korean War veterans and foster cultural exchanges between the U.S. and South Korea.
Death and burial ground.
John Coulter died in Washington, D.C. on 06-03-1983, old age 91 and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Section 6.
Cemetery and section location.