Throwback Thursday: Meet John Henry Pruitt & the Trench Heroes of WWI

American bravery in the first World War was writ large and small, and punctuated with buckshot and bullets.

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posted on October 12, 2023

American bravery in the first World War was writ large and small, and punctuated with buckshot and bullets.

World War I changed everything about the way wars would be fought from then on, due in large part to the absolute inhumanity of trench warfare. In those trenches, little more than shallow scars carved into the embattled earth, hundreds of thousands died without moving the battle lines more than a few yards. Tanks, poison gas and shelling from above were part of the battle ... but in the end, the war was fought and won by riflemen. 

Riflemen like John Pruitt, the first sniper to win the Army and Navy Medal of Honor. According to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, "Cpl. Pruitt singlehandedly attacked two machine guns, capturing them and killing two of the enemy. He then captured 40 prisoners in a dugout nearby. This gallant soldier was killed soon afterwards by shellfire while he was sniping at the enemy.

"Navy Medal of Honor For extraordinary gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the 78th Company, 6th Regiment, 2d Division, in action with the enemy at Blanc Mont Ridge, France, 3 October 1918. Cpl. Pruitt, singlehandedly attacked two machine guns, capturing them and killing two of the enemy. He then captured 40 prisoners in a dugout nearby. This gallant soldier was killed soon afterward by shellfire while he was sniping at the enemy."

In this excellent segment from American Rifleman TV, you'll learn more about the heroism of our troops in the first World War ... both large and small.

 

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