Pigeons are often maligned as pesky urban pests, unbeloved birds endlessly bumbling for breadcrumbs underfoot. But despite their less-than-stately reputations of late, pigeons in the past have proven to be nothing short of heroes.
In October 1918, during the bloody final weeks of World War I, New York's 77th Infantry Division became stranded behind enemy lines in France, suffering heavy losses from the advancing German Army. More than half the troops in the unit, known as the "Lost Battalion", were killed or captured in the ensuing battle of Argonne while the nearly 200 men that remained struggled to alert headquarters for assistance beneath a barrage of artillery.
To make matters worse, their location was misreported as an enemy position, exposing them to friendly-fire as well.