Sergeant Alvin Cullum York , known commonly as Sergeant York, was one of the most decorated American soldiers in World War I. Alvin won the Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross. Legion of Honour, Croix de guerre, War Merit Cross, and Order of Prince Danilo I for his service in France.
Alvin had a somewhat unlikely background for a war hero. A committed Christian, Alvin initially made a claim for conscientious objector status when he was called form the draft in 1917, writing: “Don’t Want To Fight”. His claim was rejected. During his military training Alvin was granted 10 days of leave to return home and consider the morality of his participation in the war. He returned to his post filled with a new conviction that God intended him to fight, and would protect him.
Alvin received the Medal of Honor for leading an attack on a German machine gun nest along the Decauville raile line in France on October 8, 1918. With seven men, Captain York took 32 machine guns, killed 28 German soldiers, and captured 132 others, marching them back to the American lines. He was swiftly promoted to Sergeant, and a few months later, received his award.
York endeavoured to live a relatively quiet life after the war, shunning opportunities to cash in on his new fame. In the twenties he founded the Alvin C. York Foundation, aiming to increase education opportunities in his home state of Tennessee.