Site of Alvin York's MOH Stand (Maybe) Found
Proof offered of Sergeant York's war exploits
On Oct. 8, 1918, York, then a corporal, crept behind enemy lines with 16 other soldiers to attack German machine gunners who were holding up an American advance. They came under fire. and York was credited with overcoming the superior force by using his sharpshooting skills honed during turkey shoots and squirrel hunts in the Tennessee woods.
"We nailed it," said Lieutenant Colonel Douglas Mastriano, an American military intelligence officer working for NATO, who has spent six years researching York's story using American and German military archives.
The general area where the fight took place, near the village of Châtel Chéhéry, was well known, but vague and conflicting battlefield accounts made it impossible to say exactly where the fighting took place. The vale in which York was known to have fought is peppered with spent American and German ammunition, making it difficult to differentiate between cartridges he fired from those fired by other doughboys.
Most people involved in the hunt have agreed, however, that he was the only one who emptied a sidearm in the narrow valley that day, and students of the issue have said that finding a concentration of empty Colt .45 cartridges would be the best proof of where he stood.
Over the past year, Mastriano, his wife, Rebecca, his son Josiah, and his friends Kory O'Keefe, Lieutenant Colonel Jeff Parmer and Gary Martin spent nearly 1,000 hours walking the battlefield with metal detectors, turning up bits of shrapnel, belt buckles, buttons and countless rifle cartridges. Then, on Oct. 14, Mastriano and O'Keefe found two .45 caliber bullets, one live round and one that had been fired.
They returned the following weekend and uncovered even more evidence: 19 empty .45 cartridges scattered over a 3-meter, or 10-foot, wide area at the base of a hill, together with German and American rifle rounds.
Many of the German rounds had not been fired.
They found more .45 slugs 20 meters up the hill near the remains of a German trench, together with hundreds of German rifle and machine gun cartridges, many of them live rounds, and bits of gun belts and other debris consistent with soldiers' surrendering.
The material fits closely with York's account, in which he described firing his rifle toward machine gunners on a hill before pulling out his Colt .45 to pick off seven German soldiers who charged him with fixed bayonets. According to the Army's History of the 82nd Division, published in 1919, he emptied three complete clips from the semiautomatic pistol, a total of 21 rounds. Mastriano had the casings examined by a ballistics expert who confirmed that they all came from the same gun.
If it can be verified-and it sounds pretty good to me-I hope that A) the French government can see fit to preserve the site, and B) some sort of monument can be erected to mark the spot. I did a staff ride through the area back in '98, and there was nothing there. It'd be nice to be able to recognize where Sgt York preformed his deeds.
Understanding the Middle East
Courtesy of Victor Davis Hanson
(1) We will pump oil at $3 and must sell it over $50— and still blame you for stealing our natural treasure
(2) We will damn your culture and politics, but expect our own to immigrate in the thousands to your shores; upon arrival any attempt to integrate Muslim immigrants into Western pluralistic society will be seen as Islamaphobic
(3) Send us your material goods, whether machine tools, I-pods, or antibiotics. We desperately want them, but will neither make the necessary changes in our own statist, authoritarian, religiously intolerant, tribal, and patriarchal culture to allow us to produce them ourselves, nor will show any appreciation for the genius of others who can do what we cannot
(4) We ostensibly wish you to stop the killing of Muslims by ourselves and others—Milosevic murdering Kosovars, Saddam destroying Kuwaitis, Kurds, and Shiites, Russians killing Afghans and Chechnyans—but should you concretely attempt to do so, we will immediately consider your intervention far worse than the mayhem caused by others or ourselves.
(5) Any indigenous failure in the Arab Middle East will eventually be blamed on the United States or Israel
(6) Your own sense of multiculturalism must serve as an apology for our own violent pathologies, that can only be seen as different from, never worse than, your own culture.
(7) We must at all times talk of anti-Americanism and why we want you out of the Middle East; you must never become anti-Arab or anti-Muslim, much less close your borders to our immigrants and students.
(8) We will tolerate and often defend those who burn churches, ethnically cleanse Jews from our cities, behead priests, kill nuns, and shoot infidels as the necessary, if sometimes regrettable, efforts of our more zealous to defend Islam. But if any free spirit in the West satirizes Islam, we will immediately demand that Western governments condemn such blasphemy—or else!
(9) Material aid—billions to Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, or the Palestinians—is our entitlement. Any attempt to curtail it is seen as an assault on the Arab nation
(10) We are deathly afraid of nuclear Russia, China, and India who have little tolerance for either Islamism or terrorism, and so will ignore their felonies, while killing you for your misdemeanors.