As promised, this week we continue exploring the men ‘behind’ SGT York – those who did not receive quite the acclaim he did, while still performing amazing feats of courage, determination and valor.


Michael Valente

Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Army, Company D, 107th Infantry, 27th Division. Place and date: East of Ronssoy, France, 29 September 1918. Entered service at: Ogdensburg N.Y. Born: 5 February 1895, Cassino, Italy. G.O. No.: 16, W.D., i929. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action with the enemy during the operations against the Hindenburg line, east of Ronssoy, France, 29 September 1918. Finding the advance of his organization held up by a withering enemy machinegun fire, Pvt. Valente volunteered to go forward. With utter disregard of his own personal danger, accompanied by another soldier, Pvt. Valente rushed forward through an intense machinegun fire directly upon the enemy nest, killing 2 and capturing 5 of the enemy and silencing the gun. Discovering another machinegun nest close by which was pouring a deadly fire on the American forces, preventing their advance, Pvt. Valente and his companion charged upon this strong point, killing the gunner and putting this machinegun out of action. Without hesitation they jumped into the enemy’s trench, killed 2 and captured 16 German soldiers. Pvt. Valente was later wounded and sent to the rear.

Harold L. Turner

Harold L. Turner 

Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Army, Company F, 142d Infantry, 36th Division. Place and date: Near St. Etienne, France, 8 October 1918. Entered service at: Seminole, Okla. Born: 5 May 1898, Aurora, Mo. G.O. No.: 59, W.D., 1919. Citation: After his platoon had started the attack Cpl. Turner assisted in organizing a platoon consisting of the battalion scouts, runners, and a detachment of Signal Corps. As second in command of this platoon he fearlessly led them forward through heavy enemy fire, continually encouraging the men. Later he encountered deadly machinegun fire which reduced the strength of his command to but 4 men, and these were obliged to take shelter. The enemy machinegun emplacement, 25 yards distant, kept up a continual fire from 4 machineguns. After the fire had shifted momentarily, Cpl. Turner rushed forward with fixed bayonet and charged the position alone capturing the strong point with a complement of 50 Germans and 1 machineguns. His remarkable display of courage and fearlessness was instrumental in destroying the strong point, the fire from which had blocked the advance of his company.