Sergeant Alvin C. York

Kelly Maddux
Newnan High School
Newnan, Georgia USA
Teacher: Stephen Quesinberry
Adv. World History, 10th grade
York, 1919, in the Argonne

Maps: Vantage Art, Massapequa, N.Y.

General Information

  • Born Alvin Cullium York, December 13, 1887, in Pall Mall, Tennessee.
  • His life was turned around by a woman, Gracie Williams, who convinced him to give up his worldly ways and go to church. Formed long held and firm religious beliefs as a result.
  • Drafted in 1917.
  • Impressed the regular army officers with his ability to use a gun. Shot accurately at ranges of 200, 300 and 500 yards. Struggled with the moral issue of killing human beings, and refused to shoot at human silhouettes (targets).
  • At the battle of the Argonne Forest in the fall of 1918, as a member of the 82nd division, he killed 25 Germans, knocked out 35 machine guns, and captured 132 prisoners almost single-handed.
  • Recieved the French Medaille Militaire and Croix de Guerre, the Italian Groce de Guerra and the American Medal of Honor.
  • Came home to the adulation of the American people, married Gracie Williams, and died in Nashville, Tenn. on September 2, 1964 after having a cerebral hemorrage.


"Sir, I am doing wrong. Practicing to kill people is against my religion."
York, speaking of target practice at human silhouettes.

"What you did was the greatest thing accomplished by any private soldier of all the armies of Europe."
Marshall Ferdinand Foch, on York's feat in the Argonne.

"This uniform ain't for sale."
York, on demands for his endorsement.

"It's over; let's just forget about it."
York's modesty about the the event that brought him the Medal of Honor.