When people in East Tennessee hear about the Medal of Honor it is often associated with Sergeant Alvin C. York. In 1918 York charged German machine gun nests and captured and killed a couple dozen enemy fighters leaning only on his bolt action rifle and raw courage. His actions earned Sgt. York the nation's highest military honor.
"He was very much in the media. They made the movie about him but I think a little bit to the neglect of the others," said Cynthia Tinker with the University of Tennessee Center for the Study of War and Society.
In all, fourteen military men from East Tennessee have been awarded the Medal of Honor. Five of those men fought in World War I. Seven fought in World War II. One fought in Korea and another received his medal for his service in Vietnam. Across the country of the millions of Americans who have served in the military throughout history fewer than 3,500 have received the nation's highest military honor.
All this month we are devoting our ongoing series about East Tennessee Veterans to some of the Medal of Honor recipients from our area who's name you likely don't know. Men like Calvin Ward and Charles Coolidge.