Alton’s Sergeant York – Page

Photo courtesy of Edith Farrington


Recently my wife and I interviewed Evelyn DeBadts about her family’s history. Afterwards, she gave us a tour of her house and I noticed this picture on the wall. When I asked her who it was she replied “That was my father in World War 1” . I then said “Is that the Distinguished Service Cross he is wearing?”. She then  told us how he personally took out 5 machine guns and captured 30 German soldiers to earn the Nations second highest award. This action was similar to the heroics of Sergeant York made famous in the movie of the same name. Curiously enough, this action was nearby where Sergeant York performed a similar act of heroism.


According to Wikipedia:

The Distinguished Service Cross is the second highest military award that can be given to a member of the United States Army (and previously the United States Air Force), for extreme gallantry and risk of life in actual combat with an armed enemy force. Actions that merit the Distinguished Service Cross must be of such a high degree that they are above those required for all other U.S. combat decorations but do not meet the criteria for the Medal of Honor. The Distinguished Service Cross is equivalent to the Navy Cross (Navy and Marine Corps), the Air Force Cross (Air Force), and the Coast Guard Cross (Coast Guard).


According to

American Decorations (1862-1926) Volume 1

Tack, Abraham T. (540627)

Near Hill 299, France

Oct. 16, 1918

Private first class, Company A, 7th Infantry, 3rd Division

Private Tack assumed command after its officers had been wounded and led it to its objectives. He advanced through heavy machine-gun and artillery fire for a distance of 800 meters and engaged in a hand-to-hand fight that resulted in the defeat of the enemy and the capture of 5 machine guns and 30 prisoners.

Evelyn DeBadts then showed us the certificate he received:



Evelyn went on to say that her Dad was a humble man who did not like to talk about the war or the heroics he performed on that battlefield in 1918. I talked to 2 Alton families that go back several generations and who knew the Tack family well. They had never heard the story of this hero from Alton.


Image from History Warfare Network


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