Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Sgt. York was a Symbol of American Courage and Sacrifice

On this day in 1918, then Cpl. Alvin C. York and sixteen other soldiers under the command of Sergeant Bernard Early were dispatched before sunrise to take command of the Decauville railroad behind Hill 223 in the Chatel-Chehery area of the Meuse-Argonne sector in Northeast France.

The seventeen men, due to a misreading of their map (which was in French not English) mistakenly wound up behind enemy lines. A brief fire fight ensued which resulted in the confusion and the unexpected surrender of a superior German force to the seventeen soldiers. Once the Germans realized that the American contingent was limited, machine gunners on the hill overlooking the scene turned the gun away from the front and toward their own troops.

After ordering the German soldiers to lie down, the machine gun opened fire resulting in the deaths of nine Americans, including York's best friend in the outfit, Murray Savage. Sergeant Early received seventeen bullet wounds and turned the command over to corporals Harry Parsons and William Cutting, who ordered York to silence the machine gun.

Fearlessly leading the seven remaining soldiers, York charged with great daring a machine gun nest which was pouring deadly and incessant fire upon his platoon. When the smoke cleared, he had taken the machine gun nest, killing twenty and singlehandedly capturing 132 German soldiers, including four officers, and several guns.

Alvin York's actions that day are recognized as one of the most significant combat feats by a single Soldier during WWI. For his exceptional heroism in the face of danger, he was awarded the Medal of Honor.

Lauded by The New York Times as “the war’s biggest hero," upon his death in 1964, President Lyndon Johnson called him alvin“a symbol of American courage and sacrifice” who epitomized the gallantry of American fighting men and their sacrifices on behalf of freedom.”

For an in-depth look into the heroics of Sgt. Alvin C. York visit:

Alvin C. York and the Meuse Argonne Offensive

To read about Sgt. York's struggle with being a soldier and having to fight in a war and how he finally found peace in it, go to:

How To Wrestle with a Difficult D,ecision - Advice From Sergeant Alvin C. York


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