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The Lost Battalion and Cher Ami

On October 2, 1918, over 500 soldiers of the U.S. 77th Division were surrounded by Germans in the Argonne Forest. For six days they held on, running low on food, water, and ammunition. They sent runners for help; none made it through. Worse, due to an error in a message sent by carrier pigeon, Allied artillery began bombarding the trapped unit.

Desperate to end the shelling, the Americans sent their last pigeon. But the bird, named Cher Ami (French for “Dear Friend”) was shot down by the Germans, dashing the hopes of the en- circled men. Yet despite severe injuries, Cher Ami somehow delivered his message to division headquarters, 25 miles away. The artillery stopped and a relief force rescued the survivors of the “Lost Battalion” four days later.

Cher Ami became famous, and was even awarded the French Croix de Guerre. Today, he can be seen at the American Museum of Natural History.

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