The Unknown Warrior of the United States of America

On Memorial Day, 1921, four unknowns were exhumed from four World War I American cemeteries in France. U.S. Army Sergeant Edward F. Younger, who was wounded in combat, highly decorated for valor and received the Distinguished Service Medal in “The Great War, the war to end all wars”, selected the Unknown Soldier of World War I from four identical caskets at the city hall in Chalons-sur-Marne, France, 24 October 1921.

Unknown Warrior of USA medal

Sergeant Younger selected the unknown by placing a spray of white roses on one of the caskets. He chose the third casket from the left. The chosen unknown soldier was transported to the USA aboard the USS Olympia. Those remaining unknown soldiers were interred at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery, France.

After the end of the Great War, the US Government bestowed a Congressional Medal of Honor on the British Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey, and the gesture was reciprocated with the award of the Victoria Cross to the American Unknown Warrior. The ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia took place on 11th November 1921, and the VC was presented by Earl Beatty, representing King George V.