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Sgt Joseph Bernard Adkinson. Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company C, 119th Infantry, 30th Division. Place and date: Near Bellicourt, France, September 29, 1918. Entered service at: Memphis, Tenn. Born: January 4, 1892, Egypt, Tenn. G.O. No.: 59, W.D., 1919.
Medal of Honor Citation: "When murderous machinegun fire at a range of 50 yards had made it impossible for his platoon to advance, and had caused the platoon to take cover Sergeant. Adkinson alone, with the greatest intrepidity, rushed across the 50 yards of open ground directly into the face of the hostile machinegun kicked the gun from the parapet into the enemy trench, and at the point of the bayonet captured the 3 men manning the gun. The gallantry and quick decision of this soldier enabled the platoon to resume its advance."
Adkinson was born in Egypt, Tennessee, and entered the army in 1917 in Memphis. By mid-1918, Adkinson and his division were involved in combat in France. On September 29, 1918, near Bellicourt, France, Adkinson, by then a Sergeant, found he and his platoon pinned down by heavy German machine gun fire located fifty yards to their front.
Adkinson, acting alone, charged the machine gun nest, kicked it over into the enemy trench, and using the bayonet fixed on his rifle captured the three man machine gun crew, allowing his platoon to advance forward. He was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1919, and was one of six soldiers from Tennessee to receive that medal for their service during the First World War. Another of the six was Alvin York, subject of the film Sergeant York starring actor Gary Cooper.
Adkinson died in 1965, and he is buried in is buried in Salem Associated Reformed Presbyterian Church in Atoka, Tennessee.
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