When I was a boy and I first saw the film Sergeant York, I wondered if John J. Pershing, who was still alive in 1940, had played himself in the scene in which Sergeant York is presented with the Medal of Honor. It was an honest mistake. Joseph Girard portrayed Pershing, as he had many times, due to his uncanny resemblance to Pershing. The role was not credited in the film. Girard was ten years younger than Pershing and would die in 1949, one year after the General. Girard appeared in more than 280 films.
Pershing called Sergeant York “The greatest civilian soldier of the war.” Field Marshal Ferdinand Foch, commander in chief of the Allied Forces said of York: “What York did was the greatest thing accomplished by any soldier of all the armies of Europe”.