Frye: Honoring Major Samuel Woodfill

Posted by: Abigail Campbell and Kayla King  | Friday, February 23, 2018

Hoosier veterans both past and present deserve to be recognized for their outstanding service to our nation. Maj. Samuel Woodfill, a Jefferson County native, is no exception. His lifelong dedication to our country is inspiring. That is why I am working to have a portion of Highway 421 named after this local hero.

Woodfill was born in 1883 and raised in Bryantsburg, Indiana. He attended a schoolhouse in Belleview and grew up to serve our great nation in the U.S. Army for a large part of his life. The majority of his time in uniform was spent overseas fighting in the Philippine-American War, World War I and World War II, making him one of the most celebrated American soldiers of the 20th century.

As a first lieutenant during World War I, Woodfill was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his bravery and courage while leading his advancing unit through heavy machine gunfire. Woodfill knocked out three separate machine gun bunkers, killing or capturing German soldiers each time. He risked his life to protect his comrades and our freedom.

Aside from the Medal of Honor, he received the Cross of Prince Danilo for his bravery in the War for the Independence of Montenegro and was made a Chevalier, or knight, of the French Legion of Honor. These awards, among others, makes Woodfill one of the most decorated American servicemen during the World War I period.

At Arlington National Cemetery during the 1921 dedication ceremonies, Woodfill served as a pallbearer at the burial of the Unknown Soldier. He was one of three World War I veterans to serve at the burial. In 1948, Woodfill again served as a pallbearer for his former comrade, Gen. John Perishing, commander of the American Expeditionary Force on the Western Front during World War I.

Woodfill passed away in 1951 at the age of 68 on his Indiana farm. His first burial took place in the Jefferson County Cemetery near Madison. He now rightfully rests in peace as an American hero at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA.

Our community is home to many outstanding citizens, past and present. By naming a heavily traveled road in our area after Woodfill, his bravery and service to our nation will forever be memorialized. If you have any questions, comments or input email me at h67@iga.in.gov or call 317-234-3827.

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State Rep. Frye (R-Greensburg) represents House District 67, which includes Ohio, Ripley and Switzerland counties, as well as portions of Decatur, Jennings, Jefferson and Dearborn counties.

A high-resolution photo of Frye can be downloaded by clicking here.