Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Holy Shit, Alvin York!

Let's say you're a small town guy with very little education but a lot of experience hunting since you had to forgo school to help feed your family. Let's also say you spent much of your youth drinking and fighting before having an epiphany and becoming a dyed-in-the-wool pacifist. Finally, let's say you feel compelled to enlist in the army despite your pacifism, because the biggest and most terrible war the world has ever seen is currently raging overseas. That would put you in the position of Alvin York, an American soldier in World War I.

York struggled with the divide between what he saw as his duty to fight and his spiritual responsibility to protect the sanctity of life. Eventually, his superior officers, some of them devout Christians themselves, convinced him that God wanted him to fight for his country. I don't know if you've noticed, but the belief that God himself is egging you on makes even the humblest of people into dangerous sons of bitches. Alvin York is the epitome of this phenomenon.

On October 8, 1918, York's battalion was ordered to attack a German position near Chatel-Chéhéry, France. The assault, it turned out, was ill-conceived. It left York and 7 survivors of his battalion right smack in the middle of a killing field surrounded by hundreds of Germans and plenty of mounted machine guns. Most people in this sort of situation would throw up the white flag, but Alvin "God Wants Me to Kill Folk" York just hit the dirt, chewed a handful of nails, and whipped out his rifle.
Alvin York where the shit went down
Alvin York where the shit went down

Those early years of hunting experience paid off, as pretty much every single shot he fired hit its mark. After he ran out of ammo, half a dozen Germans found him and charged with bayonets. He yawned, pulled out his pistol, and capped every single one of them before they could even get close. The German commander noticed where all of his losses were coming from and fired every damn bullet he had on him directly at York. Every shot missed. He looked around, saw how many of his men were dying because of this one bumpkin, and quite understandably decided to announce that he'd had enough, and would York please stop killing his men so that they could surrender and cower in a prison instead, because Jesus Christ, man.

Alvin, being a reasonable Rambo (and pretty much out of ammo), said okey dokes and proceeded to march back to camp with 7 allies and one hundred and thirty two freaking prisoners. When the head honcho at camp asked him how many Germans he had captured, York said, "Honest, Lieutenant, I don't know."

Just so you don't go thinking because you haven't heard of him he didn't get his due, Alvin York was granted just about every highest military medal and honor that all of the allied nations had to offer, and in 1941 a movie about his ridiculously super-human badassery was released. How they haven't thought to remake it since then is beyond me. Maybe it's just too unbelievable that one pacifist can kick the asses of about 150 soldiers more or less on his own. Because seriously, holy shit.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. To Hollywood: Shut up and take my money!

  3. I have no idea why my Blogger ID makes me submit comments twice, but there you have it.

    1. Maybe it just really, really likes you.