The History Place - World War I

Sergeant Alvin C. York, recipient of America's highest military award, the Medal of Honor. He was a deeply spiritual mountain boy from Tennessee who plowed fields for a dollar a day as a youth and also became a champion wild turkey shooter. Drafted into the U.S. Army, he had never heard of the Kaiser and did not understand the war--a scenario that was explained to him by Army officers after they received a letter from his pastor requesting his release as a conscientious objector. York chose to fight and was sent to France. Pinned down with his patrol unit during the Argonne Offensive on October 8, 1918, he continued on his own and single-handedly took out 35 German machine-guns, killed 25 Germans, and captured 132. York was one of 78 Americans awarded the Medal of Honor in World War I. After the war, York spurned numerous invitations to commercialize his fame and actually wound up in some financial distress nearly losing his little farm. Below Left: England's King George decorates an American. Below Right: Lt. J.W. Wilson is decorated by France's Marshal Petain as General Pershing observes.


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