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HEIDELBERG, Germany — The greatest hero of the Great War — and the efforts nearly 100 years later that went into finding the spot where he performed his incredible feats — will be celebrated next month by hundreds in a small French town.

Boy Scouts from throughout Europe, a military band and NATO and U.S. troops will be on hand in Chatel Chehery on Oct. 4 to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the exploits of Sgt. Alvin York. Members of the 82nd Airborne Division may parachute in.

The ceremony begins at 11 a.m. in the town square. At noon, a York monument will be dedicated in the Argonne forest where York earned his Medal of Honor and became an American legend. That area now has a York interpretive trail.

According to legend, York killed 25 German soldiers and captured 132 others with only seven U.S. soldiers, a Springfield rifle and a .45-caliber pistol for help. He credited his sharpshooting skills learned shooting turkeys and squirrels in the Tennessee woods.

The event is in part thanks to the effort of Col. Doug Mastromarino, who spent six years researching York, combing through archives and, along with family and friends, spending many hours searching the forest floor for evidence and artifacts, in particular, Colt .45 cartridges. York, it is believed, was the only one to fire a sidearm in the battle.

Directions for those interested in the event: Take the A4 in France toward Paris, get off at the Clermont exit (look for a big sign for the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery) and head toward Varennes. Once in Varennes, head toward Apremont and Chatel Chehery.

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Nancy is an Italy-based reporter for Stars and Stripes who writes about military health, legal and social issues. An upstate New York native who served three years in the U.S. Army before graduating from the University of Arizona, she previously worked at The Anchorage Daily News and The Seattle Times. Over her nearly 40-year journalism career she’s won several regional and national awards for her stories and was part of a newsroom-wide team at the Anchorage Daily News that was awarded the 1989 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.
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