Samuel Woodfill: World War I Hero At The 1931 National Matches

Standing out among the crowd at the 1931 National Matches was former Army soldier Samuel Woodfill, a Medal of Honor recipient due to his heroic actions in World War I.

posted on April 28, 2024
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Samuel Woodfill, a competitor at the 1931 National Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio, was one of the most decorated U.S. Army soldiers to fight in the Great War, receiving the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in October of 1918. Woodfill was presented the Medal of Honor by Gen. John J. Pershing himself in February of 1919.
NRA archive photo

Singular among the 2,000-odd competitors at the National Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio, in 1931 was a former soldier, Samuel Woodfill.

Woodfill was one of three individuals, cited by name in Gen. John J. Pershing’s memoir of World War I, “as typifying the spirit of the rank and file of our great army.” The other two were Sgt. Alvin York and Lt. Col. Charles Whittlesey. Sgt. York is a legendary figure from World War I history, and Lt. Col. Whittlesey was the commanding officer of the “Lost Battalion.”

Like Sgt. Alvin York, Woodfill, a first lieutenant at the time, used well-aimed rifle fire to overwhelm a series of German machine gun emplacements, all while suffering from the effects of mustard gas. (Woodfill was later commissioned as a Major in 1942, his final Army rank). His action helped clear the way to take the town of Cunel during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in October of 1918. In addition, just like Sgt. York, First Lt. Woodfill received the Medal of Honor for his exploit during the Great War. Unlike Sgt. York, though, First Lt. Woodfill was not cited for taking prisoners.

Samuel Woodfill

Samuel Woodfill
January 6, 1883 – August 10, 1951


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