Today marks the anniversary of the extraordinary actions of one of the most storied Medal of Honor recipients in history. Slim wrote up an historical account of those events, but be forewarned — he was most of the way through a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle’s 20 year old Family Reserve and an entire carton of unfiltered Camels before he even started, so it gets a little…rowdy. Make sure you check the notes a the end. Swingin’ Dick Kilgore
Like what you read here on Breach-Bang-Clear? Support us on Patreon.
We’d ask you fuckers to guess what today is, but you’d probably just say “Wing night at Nancy’s Squat and Gobble?” Well, yes, but more importantly today is October 8th. On October 8th, 1918, over a million Americans were in the middle of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive — among them was a man named Alvin Cullum York.
Today we’re going to talk about that All American Badass. This guy was an American Jedi before being a Jedi was cool. He was a Godly man of honor, born in a log cabin in the wilds of Pall Mall, Tennessee all the way back in 1887. The men of the York family were tough sons of bitches, relying on their own skill and cunning to survive on a shoestring budget . They harvested their own food, worked the family farm and hunted wild game to feed the family. Alvin was among the best hunters in his area, and often brought the meat home for the cook pot. Later on, as World War 1 loomed in the near future, Alvin did railroad construction and worked as a logger to help his family survive. But he wasn’t all hugs and handshakes. He was also known to like his whiskey, rumored to be a violent alcoholic, quick to fight at the saloon and had been busted by the police a few times.
So, he was pretty much like every other dude from Tennessee.
Despite his rowdy, skull-thumping behavior, Alvin York was a church goer, and devoted to his faith. “I was worried clean through. I didn’t want to go and kill. I believed in my Bible,” he was quoted saying after the war, in reference to his youthful pacifism. With the war in Europe starting, he was required to register for the draft. On the draft form, he answered the question “Do you claim exemption from draft (specify grounds)?” with a short, bullshit response. “Yes. Don’t Want To Fight.”
Seriously, can you believe that bullshit? That fucker almost cheated himself out of killing some Hun bastards, and saving a lot of American lives. But we’ll get to that part in a minute. His hippie-ass, touchy feely bullshit claim for conscientious objector status was obviously denied, probably because he filled it out with pink ink from his hello kitty pen. Surprise asshole, you can’t cheat fate out of its newest legendary warrior about to be formed in the crucible of war!
In all fairness, he flip-flopped on this later on after war, denying he ever claimed to having been a conscientious objector. With few records kept back then, few people knew this then or even today. All that survive are righteous tale of his American badassery.
That’s about all the shit talking we’ll do on ole’ Alvin York, because that was just about the last time the guy could be viewed as anything resembling a pussy or a coward. York got lucky, he won the lottery. The motherfucking Draft lottery! He shipped out to the Army for basic training and was one of those dudes that spent all his money after graduation on the terrible moto t-shirts they sell at the PX. That’s right, he was born again hard.
York was placed in Company G, 328th Infantry Regiment, 82nd Infantry Division at Camp Gordon, Georgia. He would walk around the company area saying “it’s not too hot for PT” and “it’s gonna be a lot hotter in Hell for all those lousy Krauts waiting for me in France!” Comments like that motivated some of his squadmates, while others responded with “SHUT THE FUCK UP YORK!!!” He was squared away though, he always bloused his jeans into his combat boots when out in town, and would even stand at ease when talking to anyone who had even a hint of authority.
Shortly after getting both his One Shot, One Kill tattoo on his back and a Death Before Dishonor full sleeve on his arm the division shipped out. Arriving in France, his division would prove vital to the St Mihiel Offensive. During one of the attacks of the Allies “Hundred Days Offensive”, his battalion went over the top to capture German positions near Hill 223 along the Decauville rail-line north of Chatel-Chéhéry, France. There York would have the fight of his life.
He recalled the battle in graphic detail, and we must warn our readers that this was documented back when men were allowed to be men, dudes could curse and be openly bigoted about nearly everything. So strong language is headed your way cupcake…
“The Germans got us, and they got us right smart. Those sad sack fuckers just stopped us dead in our tracks! Their machine guns were up there on the heights overlooking us and well hidden, and we couldn’t tell for certain where the terrible heavy fire was coming from… They were like special Kraut ninjas or some shit… Anyway, I’m telling you those cocksuckers were shooting straight as shit! Our boys just went down like the long grass before the lawn mower at home. It was a complete blood bath, and our attack just faded out…Fucking asshole officers…No shit, there we were, lying down in the mud like dogs waiting to get popped in the grape. Those German machine guns and big shells getting us hard. Talk about a complete cluster fuck.”
Under the command of Sergeant Bernard Early, four non-commissioned officers, including recently promoted Cpl. York and thirteen privates were ordered to infiltrate behind German lines to take out the machine guns. The group worked their way behind the Germans and overran the headquarters of a German unit, capturing a large group of German soldiers who were preparing a counter-attack against the U.S. troops. Sergeant Early’s men were contending with the prisoners when machine gun fire suddenly peppered the area, killing six Americans and wounding three others. The fire came from German machine guns up on the ridge. The loss of the nine soldiers put Corporal York in charge of the seven remaining in the detail. He looked at he guys, drew the biggest fucking knife you’ve ever seen from nowhere and said, “Hey Bros, don’t sweat this shit. I got it. Stay here.”
York’s boys remained under cover guarding the prisoners, giving each other confused looks as he worked his way into position to silence the German machine guns.
“Those fucking machine guns were spitting fire and cutting down all the undergrowth around me…I was like Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?!!! You Bitches are gonna die!” he recalled after the battle. “The dickmongering Germans were yelling orders, while some lay in the mud crying like little bitches… You never heard such a goddamn racket in all of your fuckin’ life! I didn’t have time to dodge behind a tree or dive into the brush… Besides, that shit isn’t as cool as just rolling up, balls out and mercin’ some dudes face to face. As soon as the machine guns opened fire on me, I began to exchange shots with them. I was all like Pew! Pew! Pew! and they were all like “Damn you Uber-elite warfighter, soon-to-be-meritoriously-promoted Sergeant York, you have done killed our asses DEAD!” There were over thirty of them bastards, and all I could do was smoke-check them rotten Hun fucksticks just as fast as I could. I was straight-up sharp shooting… All the time I kept yelling for those Kraut Kunts to come down and give up. I didn’t want to skullfuck any more than I had to. But it was them or me, and I had a whole pile of trim lined up waiting for when I got back home. So it sure as fuck wasn’t going to be me! I’d say that I was giving them the best I had, but shit son. I had barely broken a sweat yet!”
During this assault, six German soldiers in a trench near York charged him with fixed bayonets. York had fired all the rounds in his 30-06 M1917 Enfield rifle, so he transitioned to his .45 Colt 1911 and shot all six soldiers before they could reach him. German First Lieutenant Paul Jürgen Vollmer, commander of the First Battalion, 120th Landwehr Infantry, emptied his pistol trying to kill York while he was contending with the machine guns. Failing to injure York, and seeing his mounting losses, he offered in English to surrender the unit to York, who accepted.
“Yeah Bro, that fucking Kraut officer…just like every officer that ever lived, he couldn’t shoot for shit. I was just standing there, shwacking his pillow-biting buddies, and he emptied his Luger at me from like 10 Yards. I almost fell over laughing at him, and lucky for him I was almost out of ammo so I accepted his bullshit pussy-ass surrender.”
By the end of the engagement, York and his seven men marched 132 German prisoners back to the American lines. His actions had knocked out the German machine guns and enabled the 328th Infantry to renew its attack to capture the Decauville Railroad.
Total baller move, right?
York was immediately promoted to the rank of Sergeant, and received the Distinguished Service Cross. A few months later after a very thorough investigation the medal was upgraded to the Medal of Honor. Commanding General of the American Expeditionary Force General John J. Pershing himself awarded Sergeant York the medal, and the French Republic awarded him the Croix de Guerre and the Legion of Honor. A bunch of French bitches awarded him drippy-dick, and a trip to medical for penicillin. But that’s not all. Italy also awarded him its Croce di Guerra al Merito and Montenegro its War Medal. When all was said and done, he would received nearly 50 decorations.
His Medal of Honor citation reads:
“After his platoon 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 machine gun nest which was pouring deadly and incessant fire upon his platoon. In this heroic feat the machine gun nest was taken, together with 4 officers and 128 men and several guns.”
York would go on to live a long life, finally passing in September of 1964. He stood as was one of the most decorated American soldiers in World War I. He received the Medal of Honor for leading the attack on the German gun emplacements, taking 32 machine guns, killing 20 German soldiers, and capturing 132 others. When asked about his heroism, he reportedly said “Look dude, my actions on 8 October 1918 needed to get done by somebody, and that guy was me. Anyone could have done the same, and got the same medal. I’m just happy I got to do my job, and burn some would-be future Nazis down like an old wooden house. The free drinks and loose girls after the war were all I ever wanted.”
In all seriousness, if you don’t know anything about Sgt. York, read up. The story of his life is extraordinary and his actions on the battlefield have become legend. Teach your kids about him — take 5 minutes today to replace reality television trash with someone who should be exemplified, extolled and made a role model.
To learn more about Sgt. Alvin C. York, US Army, Medal of Honor recipient, visit this outstanding research project here online: http://www.sgtyorkdiscovery.com/The_York_Story.php. You can find an electronic version of his personal diary on line here. His page in the Congressional Medal of Honor Society is located here and Dr. Michael Birdwell wrote a biography of him here.
Want to read about other warriors with a bucket of balls and backbone like a boss? Check out this article about Rhodesian pipe-hitter Maj. Edgar Walter Dudley Coventry: http://breachbangclear.com/bucket-of-balls-and-backbone-i/
This Has been SWINGING DICK APPROVED.
Emergency: Activate firefly, deploy green (or brown) star cluster, get your wank sock out of your ruck and stand by ’til we come get you.