Coulter Christian Houchens, Sr. was born Christmas Day 1917 in a farmhouse in Albemarle County near Charlottesville, Virginia. Born to his farmer father, J.W., and housewife Mother, Maude, Coulter was the 13th child for the family. He was named after the county physician who delivered him, Dr. J. C. Coulter, M.D. When he was just 9 days old, his father and oldest brother were tragically killed in an accident working on the railroad, leaving his mother to raise Coulter and 11 other brothers and sisters on her own.
Coulter left school after 7th grade to work and help the family survive through The Great Depression. Following in the footsteps of his brothers, he joined the army on January 23, 1943. World War II was in full swing by this time and realizing his deployment overseas would be certain, he decided to marry his sweetheart Lucille before leaving the U.S. They married in a civil ceremony on May 18, 1943.
Shortly thereafter, the Allied Forces were gaining momentum and Coulter’s unit was deployed as part of the European Theater of Operations to England and then on to France in July, 1943. He served as a Military Policeman in the 1176th Military Police Company responsible for overseeing prisoners of war from the stockades to worksites, and maintaining law and order in the city streets as well as apprehending saboteurs. He became a motorcycle policeman, and during a raid he was shot off his motorcycle by a German soldier but managed to crawl to safety and secure a nearby building until his unit could arrive.
Coulter had trained as a Golden Gloves boxer prior to joining the Army and often times was persuaded to participate in boxing matches to pass the time for the soldiers away from home.
Following Germany’s unconditional surrender on May 8, 1945, being a family man and sole surviving son of his Mother, the Government ordered him home. He arrived back in Charlottesville on December 3, 1945 and received an Honorable Discharge from the U. S. Army on December 8, 1945.
Coulter received the Purple Heart, World War II Victory Medal, the European African Eastern Theater Ribbon, WWII Lapel Button, and the Good Conduct Medal during his military service.
Coulter and his family chose the Gary Sinise Foundation to receive the $2,500 donation made by NFM Salute on Coulter’s behalf. The family is a big supporter of the foundation, since they promote the fact that 100% of the mailed in and online donations go toward supporting the Foundation’s missions. The family is especially fond of the Foundation’s “Building for America’s Bravest” project which builds Smart Homes for disabled Veterans.