Medal Of Honor, "Most Outstanding Soldier" Of World War I

By Ethan Cole on
 July 27, 2021

Army legends are stellar soldiers, but what do you call the "Most Outstanding Soldier" of World War I?

A Stellar Soldier

Samuel Woodfill spent his adult life serving the military. First, he was there fighting Filipino warriors in Alaska and guarding Mexico's Border. After that, he went off to World War I.

Woodfill began his career as a private, but he was incredibly skilled. These skills and his experience earned him a commission. He then went off to the Great War.

In France, Woodfill was stationed near Cunel, moving toward the German troops when the fog came gunfire toward him and his men. While his men ducked for cover, Woodfill pressed on and went after the cannon turning it on the German soldiers in the trench.

Subduing the Germans

The German officer made a move toward him, but Woodfill took him out. He got his men out of hiding and had them attack the other machine gun. They took it out, but another gun popped up, firing on the men.

Woodfill and his men charged the gun. With Woodfill leading, he jumped into the nest but realized he did not have any shots left in his gun.

He fought both of the guns simultaneously. After searching and searching, he finally found a pickax to give him a hand.

Retreating From Gas

The fog kept getting thicker, but the men realized that it was not actually fog. It was Mustard Gas. The Americans fled the area.

Wooodfill and his men were ejected from the war due to the Mustard Gas. In fact, Woodfill felt lingering effects of the Mustard Gas for the rest of his life.

However, for his heroism at Meuse- Argonne, Woodfill earned a Medal of Honor. The medal was presented to him in France by Gen, John J. Pershing.

Woodfill also had the distinct honor of carrying the Unknown Soldier to its tomb at Arlington National Cemetary. Along with him were two other Medal of Honor Army legends, Charles Whittlesey and Alvin York.

Even though Woodfill suffered lasting effects from the Mustard Gas, he remained in the Army until 1943. Then, he trained recruits for World War II, preparing them to fight the Nazis.

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5 comments on “Medal Of Honor, "Most Outstanding Soldier" Of World War I”

  1. My father died from leukemia caused by mustard gas he encountered in France during WW!. He died when I was one year old so I never knew him. In civilian life before the war my father was the mailman who delivered mail to a route of country mail boxes. In those days everybody knew the mailman. They could put money in the mailbox, and the postman would leave stamps. Very few people ever went to the post office which was a regional mail facility down town. It was reachable by road with horse and buggy, and also by the new fangled horseless carriages if you were fortunate enough to have one and could get it started using the crank to get it started.

    1. Thanks for sharing this story, My grandfather was a WWW1 Doughboy who survived that war. All who served are hero's in my book!

    2. Mustard gas to Agent Orange. Diabetes, cancer, and some other maladies that came about. Many of my classmates went to "The Nam" and we all returned, that is rare. But many have passed away from the effects of Agent Orange years later. A good friend died January 2020 from leukemia in ICU at a VA Medical Center, I was able to go in and talk with his son and daughter. It took all those years to figure out that being airborne it was not restricted to just Vietnam, it spread out to as far as the Philippines.

  2. Years ago a friend of the family found out he had terminal lung cancer. He owned an insurance agency and needed someone to prepare it for sale. I was that person. His cancer was due to mustard gas and he was in WWI.
    He was such a charming person and that weapon of war was totally insidious.

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