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Alvin York

Corporal Alvin C. York of Wolf River Valley, Tennessee, was born on December 13, 1887. York was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor and the Distinguished Service Cross for heroism during World War I’s Argonne Offensive. York was a reluctant soldier, but his frontier upbringing had made him an outstanding marksman. On October 8, 1918, York’s platoon was advancing toward the Decauville railway when they were hit with machine-gun fire from all sides. The doughboys captured one gun, but the noise drew the fire of the remaining German emplacements, killing six and seriously wounding three Americans. As the most senior of the remaining doughboys, York went out alone to engage the enemy with just his rifle and service revolver, picking off the machine-gunners one by one. When the fighting was over, York had single-handedly eliminated 35 machine guns, killed more than 20 Germans and taken 132 members of a Prussian Guards regiment as prisoners. A modest man, York shrugged off his heroic actions, saying, ‘It’s over; let’s forget it.’