Alvin York: MoH Recipient Personifies Violence Of Action

first published on October 8, 2015 by

On October the 8th, 1918, US Soldier Alvin York with Company G, 328th Infantry Regiment, 82nd Infantry Division was awarded the Medal of Honor for extreme gallantry in battle. This statement alone however, does not do the man any justice. In fact, it barely scratches the iceberg when it comes to telling his actual story. Buckle your seatbelts ladies and gentlemen, this is his story and it is pretty intense. This is the stuff legends are made out of, and wwhen it comes to being a true warrior, Alvin York fits the bill perfectly.

Sergeant York is a true American hero who personifies violence of action. When staring in the face of adversity, he stood up and spit in its face. After capturing a German trench, the enemy turned its machine guns on his squad. Half of his men, and all of his senior squad leadership, were killed immediately. The remaining members of the squad were pinned down by heavy volumes of accurate, suppressing fire.

Below is the Hollywood depiction of the events on that day. The movie is titled Sergeant York, and it stars Gary Cooper as Sergeant York.

Finding himself in an untenable position, he consciously made the decision to take the fight directly to the enemy. York maneuvered himself out into the open and began taking shots at the 25 German machine gun positions, alone. His accuracy was unmatched that day.

Alvin York was extremely effective in his marksmanship, rarely missing a shot. In fact his sharpshooting skills were so strong that the German in charge decided he needed to kill York as soon as possible. He chose his six best men, told them to fix bayonets, and attack York’s position. This German assault did nothing to slow or phase York in the least. He drew his side arm and quickly dispatched all six of them at close range.

Alvin York

As Alvin York continued to fire on the machine gun positions, dropping German after German, he relayed a very simple message. “Surrender now, or I’ll keep killing you.” Realizing that they had no chance against this mad man and expert sharpshooter, the Germans made the decision to surrender and live. Alvin York and his small remaining squad of men captured 132 German soldiers.

Alvin York

His Medal of Honor citation is as follows: “After his platoon had suffered heavy casualties and three other noncommissioned officers had become casualties, Cpl. York assumed command. Fearlessly leading seven men, he charged with, great daring, a machinegun nest which was pouring deadly and incessant fire upon his platoon. In this heroic feat, the machinegun nest was taken together with 4 officers, 128 men, and several guns.”


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