12 Oaks stand between Dean and Baker Halls on the campus of Austin College, memorializing the 12 Kangaroos lost during World War 1. This is the story of one of those Oaks, dedicated to Charles Ignatius Coffin.
The Coffin family of Itasca, TX has sent generations through the halls of AC. Charles is not nearly the only one. Coffin dormitory, where many Roos called home, was named for the first cousin of Charles.
After graduation from AC in 1915, Charles enlisted. He became a U.S. Marine, and was deployed to France in the summer of 1918. Coffin and his fellow Marines endured the month-long Battle of Belleau Wood in June; Belleau is today a part of Marine Corps lore.
In July, Coffin and allied forces launched a successful counter offensive at the Second Battle of the Marne. The battle was the beginning of a string of American, British, & French victories that would lead to Armistice Day four months later.
But Coffin was not around to see it. He was killed by German shelling on the second day of the Marne counter offensive. Yet another Roo, this one a Marine, would not be coming home. Charles Ignatius Coffin is buried at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery, alongside nearly 2,300 other Americans.
Aisne-Marne Cemetery lies just a short drive from Paris. A round trip by car or train can be easily done within two hours. A visit is a wonderful way to honor the Roos and non-Roos who selflessly gave their lives over 100 years ago.