This is Private Henry Lenert, a runner attached to 3rd Battalion 5th Marines in World War 1.

During the infamous Battle of Belleau Wood in June of 1918, Lenert delivered a very important message from headquarters to grunts on the front lines, when he stumbled into a German ambush and was captured. 

A German Captain began interrogating Lenert for information on the size and location of American forces in the woods, but, like most Privates, Lenert actually didn’t know a damn thing about what was going on. 

Thinking quickly, Lenert, who was fluent in German, told the officer that the entire 6th Marine Regiment was moving into position in the woods just ahead to reinforce the 5th Marines already there. Of course, none of this was true, but the Germans, who had began calling the Marines of 5th Regiment “devildogs” for their ferocity in battle, were not prepared to face down two entire regiments of Marines. 

After a brief discussion amongst themselves, the whole German machine gun section surrendered themselves to Lenert, who, armed only with an entrenching tool (shovel), marched all 83 of them back to 5th Marines headquarters as his prisoners. Upon arriving back at headquarters with his POWs, Lenert stopped an American officer asking, “Hey, Bud! What will I do with these prisoners I’ve captured?” 

As a reward for bringing in the prisoners, instead of receiving a commendation, Lenert was allowed to go to Paris to march in the 4th of July parade. He would later be awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action, which bought him a fair amount of leniency when he got too drunk and overstayed his leave in Paris by three weeks. 


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