Sgt Willie Sandlin, Congressional Medal Of Honor Recipient, served
in Company A, 132nd Infantry, 33rd Division of the U.S. Army in World War 1.
Sgt Sandlin was buried on August 7, 1990 in Section E Plot 10A at the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery.
Sergeant Willie Sandlin, East Kentucky's answer to Sergeant York, was born near
Buckhorn in Perry County. He was the only Kentuckian to receive the Congressional Medal Of Honor in World War I.
Of all the American servicemen who fought during the Great War, only Sergeant Alvin C York received more decorations for valor
than Sandlin. Born of humble parents, he had the misfortune to lose his mother when he was a small boy. He grew to manhood
with few advantages. At an early age he enlisted in the United States Regular Army. The hardships of youth had taught him
well the lesson of taking care of himself. Straight as an arrow, with keen, alert, but steady black eyes, black hair, powerfully
muscular, but not heavy built, he was a splendid type of the sturdy men who come from the Kentucky mountain counties. He was
not assertive, but almost timid. But his mother was an Abner, and the Abners were among the sturdiest, most reliant stock
of the old time families in Perry County. His quick black eyes and muscular frame came from his mother. He enlisted in the
army in 1914 and served on the Mexican border. In 1917 he was sent to France with the 132d Infantry. Promoted
to sergeant, Sandlin single-handedly destroyed three German machine gun emplacements and killed twenty-four of the enemy on
September 26, 1918, at Bois de Forges. For that action, he was awarded the congressional Medal of Honor on July 9, 1919.
citation reads "He showed
conspicuous gallantry in action by advancing alone directly on a machine-gun nest which was holding up the line with its fire.
He killed the crew with a grenade and enabled the line to advance. Later in the day he attacked alone and put out of action
two other machine-gun nests, setting a splendid example of bravery and coolness to his men." After the war, Sandlin
returned to East Kentucky and bought a farm on Owls Nest Creek near Hyden. He and his wife, the former Belvia Roberts,
were active in the Frontier Nursing Service. They had one son and four daughters. Sandlin, then 59, died
on May 29, 1949, of a lingering lung infection resulting from a poison gas attack on his company in the Battle of the Argonne.
He was buried in Hurricane Cemetery near Hyden. In September 1990 his remains were reburied in the Zachary Taylor National
Cemetery in Louisville. Willie's wife, Belvia Roberts Sandlin, lived to be 96 years old. She died on February
11, 1999. She is buried with her husband in Plot 10A. Belvia was 47 years age when Willie died. She never married again.
Their love and respect had lasted their lifetime on this earth. In 2000, the family of Willie Sandlin donated his Medal
of Honor to the Kentucky Military History Museum in Frankfort.