On this day in history - October 8th, 1918

Published: Oct. 8, 2014 at 10:31 AM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Alvin C. York, a corporal at the time, launches an attack on Hill 223 during part of the Meuse-Argonne offensive in World War I that earned him the Medal of Honor.

"Sergeant York" registered for the draft as a conscientious objector. He claimed to have difficulty resolving the conflict between his religious beliefs and killing other men during wartime. Eventually York changed his mind and decided to fight.

At Hill 223 in north France, York's outfit encountered a nest of German machine-guns. Casualties from the guns were high so York along with several enlisted men was ordered to go around and capture the nest. Most of York's companions during this infiltration were killed. But York led on fearlessly, killing 28 Germans, capturing 32 machine-guns and 132 prisoners nearly singlehandedly. In the middle of the assault six Germans attempted to charge York with bayonets. He was out of ammunition for his rifle so he drew his .45 automatic pistol and killed them before they could reach him.

When asked later how he pulled it off, he told his division commander that "A higher power than man guided and watched over me and told me what to do."

Alvin C. York's story went to Hollywood in 1941's Sergeant York starring Gary Cooper.