On October 8, 1918, after being pinned down in an attempt to capture a narrow-gauge railroad, York took his fateful walk into history. As the company sharpshooter, he and 16 other soldiers under the command of Acting Sergeant Bernard Early were given the unenviable task of silencing the machine guns that halted the advance the day before. It was a cold, wet morning. Rain mixed with sleet added to the gloom of the fog that draped the landscape. As the soldiers worked their way around the hill, the men on the left flank stood exposed in the creek bottom. German machine gunners opened fire, wounding or killing nine Americans, including York's best friend Murray Savage. York was on the right flank beneath the crest of the hill in a natural depression, which he used to kill nine of the men who operated the guns. In the meantime, his comrades opened fire on the Germans, and in a few minutes 25 were dead. The Germans surrendered to what they thought was a superior force, and York and the American survivors escorted 132 prisoners to American forces at Varennes some 10 miles away.
Sergeant York was awarded his nation’s highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his actions outside the French village of Châtel-Chéhéry on October 8, 1918, during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive against the German forces.