For more than ninety years, Sgt. Alvin York has been credited with “single-handedly” silencing a varying number of German machine guns (some accounts upwards of 35) and capturing 132 German soldiers.For this, then-Corporal York received the Distinguished Service Cross, and later, the Congressional Medal of Honor.He was promoted to the rank of Sergeant and often referred to as the greatest war hero of WWI.Alvin York has been forever immortalized in the Warner Bros. Film “Sergeant York” which was released in 1941, shortly before the United States entered into WWII.
Many may know of Alvin York and his actions in the Argonne Forrest on October 8th, 1918; whether as first introduced by writer George Patullo, followed by the musings of Austrailan poet, Thomas Skeyhill or through the several subsequent writers who have seemingly relied heavily on these earliest works.More still, have come to know Alvin York through the film in which he was portrayed by Gary Cooper.
What many overlook or do not know, sometimes unknowingly, other times intentionally, is the complete story; the story of seventeen men, including Alvin York. This detachment of men had been sent on a mission to silence machine guns that had pinned down two Battalions of the 328th Infantry.
What is undisputed is that this detachment, led by Sgt. Bernard Early achieved its objective.At their fight’s end, the German machine guns had been silenced, and 132 Germans had been taken prisoner; however, of these “Other Sixteen”, six men had lost their lives and three had been severely wounded.All seventeen men had fought this battle with honor, ferocity, and without fear.
It is the purpose of this organization, “The Other Sixteen”, is to identify and honor, as completely and accurately as possible, the other sixteen men of which this detachment was comprised through the inspection and examination of historical records, written accounts, newspaper reports, and personal documents and accounts.Much of this information has been either overlooked, ignored, or has not been solicited by those who choose to perpetuate an incomplete account of the event.We offer a fresh, objective perspective of a long-misrepresented, pivotal battle of World War I.
Unequivocally, this organization holds in highest regard, the name and actions of Alvin C. York, as these actions may have directly resulted in the survival of ten courageous men; however, it must also be said that the product of actions of these courageous men is the survival of Alvin York.The sharing of honor among men in no way diminishes the actions of an individual.Sgt. York himself has been credited with expressing the notion that he did not act alone, nor did he deserve to be singled out for his actions, yet there are some who chose to honor him thus, despite his own objection.
What is also untold is the personal anguish experienced by some of these men and their families, both as a result of this battle and the inequity of honor that followed.Clearly, the post-war lives of these men took a path, much divergent to that of Alvin York. It is the goal of this organization to resurrect these men to receive the full and appropriate honor to which they are entitled.