BOWLING GREEN, KENTUCKY (April 27, 2015) -- He grew up hearing stories, watching movies and reading books about Sgt. Alvin Cullum York - one of the most decorated American Soldiers of World War I. York received the Medal of Honor for leading an attack on a German machine gun nest, taking 32 machine guns, killing 20 German Soldiers, and capturing 132 others, leading to the surrender of opposing German forces at the Hindenburg line in 1918."We have some movies and books about his life, and I've read and watched them more times than I can count," said Mackensie York, a fourth generation cousin of Sgt. York. "It's kind of exciting to watch the movies, especially now that I'm becoming a part of something I've wanted to be a part of all my life -- protecting and serving my country."On April 22, the 19-year-old took the first step toward carrying on his rich family history. He raised his right hand at the Nashville MEPS and swore to support and defend the U.S. Constitution by enlisting in the Army Reserve.Having acquired enough college credits in high school to enroll at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky, last fall as sophomore, York decided he needed to take a break from the classroom to begin fulfilling a deeper desire -- even though he'd received a full scholarship."I've grown up around it. I like the structure and love the people who are part of it." said York. "And even though it's awesome to be related to Sgt. York, I'm my own person, and it's just something I've always wanted to do."York enlisted as a practical nursing specialist, 68C.
His recruiter, Sgt. 1st Class Anthony Grimando, Bowling Green Center, said York is going to make a great Soldier."He's a very knowledgeable young man. He walked into the center with a goal in mind. He wanted to be a nurse and was always ready to do whatever he needed to do to get it done," Grimando said. "The military is in his blood, not just with Sgt. York, but both his parents served in the Army -- he's got great mentors."York's mother, Tanya Beecher, a program analyst for USAREC, retired as a major. His father, Ken York retired as a master sergeant."Both my husband and I are extremely proud of our son," said Beecher. "He has a strong commitment to academic excellence and his extra-curricular achievements, which is substantiated by his gaining acceptance to the only Honor's College in the Commonwealth of Kentucky at WKU. He's a mature young man who's always made good choices and has always been willing to
assist others in a time of need. He is just a great person!"York ships to basic training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, Oct. 27, then reports to Fort Sam Houston, Texas in February 2016 to attend the year-long AIT nursing course. He'll resume his classes at WKU the spring semester of 2017.