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b. 13/12/1887 Pall Mall, Tennessee.  d. 02/09/1964 Nashville, Tennessee.


DATE OF MOH ACTION: 08/10/1918 Chatel-Chehery Sector, Meuse-Argonne, France.


World War I Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient. Born in Pall Mall Tennessee, the third of 11 children, as a youth he became an expert marksman in the back woods around Pall Mall. In 1917 he received a draft notice to fight in the war, to which he wrote on the back of the notice 'dont want to fight' and sent it back to the local draft board. The board rejected his refusal to fight and he was sent off to basic training. After basic training he was assigned to the 82nd Division where they fought numerous battles and were then tasked with supporting the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. On October 8, 1918, Corporal Alvin 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 sector of the Meuse-Argonne sector. The seventeen men, due to a misreading of their map (which was in French not English) mistakenly wound up behind enemy lines. A fire fight ensued and several of his comrades were hit including Sergeant Early. Alvin York then performed a feat of heroism that would earn him the Medal of Honor.


After returning from the war York became a staunch pacifist. With war becoming more likely again in Europe, Alvin began pleading with people to avoid war at all costs. But when World War Two broke out, Alvin attempted to reenlist in the infantry but age prevented him from doing so. Instead, he signed up with the Signal Corps and traveled the country on bond tours, recruitment drives, and camp inspections. In 1941 a stirring movie of his life and times entitled "Sergeant York" starring Gary Cooper was released, which went on to win 2 Academy Awards. Alvin York died on September 2, 1964 and was buried with full military honors in the Wolf River cemetery. His funeral was attended by Governor Frank G. Clement and General Matthew Ridgway as President Lyndon B. Johnson's official representative.




After his platoon had suffered heavy casualties and 3 other noncommissioned officers had become casualties, Cpl. York assumed command. Fearlessly leading 7 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 and 128 men and several guns.



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Alvin Cullum York

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