Tuesday, September 22, 2009

369th Infantry "Harlem Hellfighters"

"Harlem Hellfighters" the 369Th Infantry Regiment an all black military unit that fought with bravery and valor during World War I. The unit was first established in 1913 as the 15Th New York (colored) Infantry Regiment a unit of the National Guard. They were among the first 100,00 troops of the American expeditionary Force to arrive in France in 1918. This regiment was an important piece of the 4Th French Army and fought until Armistice during the Meuse - Argonne Offensive. They were the first American Unit to be awarded the French military highest honor the Croix de Guerre. The "Hellfighters" served 6 months at the front lines and suffered more then 1400 casualties. Germans gave the 369Th the nickname "Hellfighter" because in 190 days of duty at the front they never had any men captured or ground taken. Sergeant Henry Lincoln Johnson is one of the most famous soldiers of the regiment. Johnson while on sentry duty engaged a raiding group of 20 Germans in an intense skirmish that included hand to hand combat that included the use of Sergeant Lincolns bolo knife. He was severely wounded but also managed to rescue a fellow soldier who was being captured by the Germans. His actions were not recognised until he received posthumously the Purple Heart in 1996 and the military second highest honor in 2003 the Distinguished Service Cross.

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