Sunday, March 25, 2001

Now and Then

School named for WWI soldier

By Gene Franzen
Enquirer Contributor

        FORT THOMAS — What's in a name? People in Fort Thomas make reference to Woodfill every day. “My son has a soccer game at Woodfill School.” “My daughter attends Woodfill School.” When the school at the corner of Alexandria Pike and Fort Thomas Avenue was built in 1922, why was it named the the Samuel Woodfill Elementary School?

[photo] Woodfill Elementary School in Fort Thomas
(Enquirer photo)
| ZOOM |
        General John Pershing, commander of the U.S. armed forces in Europe during World War I, referred to the Fort Thomas resident as “the outstanding soldier of World War I.”

        On Oct. 12, 1918, in the battle of the Argonne Forest, Lt. Woodfill single-handedly eliminated three German machine gun emplacements that had pinned down his platoon. He killed 19 Germans and captured three before he was exposed to mustard gas.

        For his actions that day, Lt. Woodfill was awarded our nation's highest military decoration, the Congressional Medal of Honor.

        Lt. Woodfill was promoted to the rank of captain and in 1921 he was one of three soldiers chosen to serve as the honor guard at the dedication of the Tomb of the Unknown Solder at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. He left the Army in 1923.

        At the start of World War II, Samuel Woodfill held the rank of major. He died in 1951 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

       Now and Then, a look at historic places in Northern Kentucky, is published on Sundays in The Kentucky Enquirer. If there is a place you would like to see featured, call 578-5555.

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