Ken Harbaugh tells the stories of service members who have distinguished themselves through an act of valor. These stories feature recipients from the Civil War to present day, including a few who were originally overlooked for the medal.
Privates First Class Charles D. Barger and Jesse N. Funk both served in World War I as Stretcher Bearers in the U.S. Army. After hearing that two wounded officers were pinned down under heavy fire in No Man’s Land, Barger and Funk leaped into action and raced through heavy fire to save them both.
Welcome to the Medal of Honor podcast, brought to you in partnership with the National Medal of Honor Museum. I’m Ken Harbaugh. In each episode, we’ll learn about a different service member who has distinguished him or herself through an act of valor.
Privates First Class Charles D. Barger and Jesse N. Funk both served in World War I as Stretcher Bearers in the U.S. Army. They deployed to France in 1918 with Company L, 354th Infantry, 89th Division as a part of the American Expeditionary Forces, or AEF.
On October 31st, 1918, the AEF was preparing for an important advance as a part of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive near Bois-De-Bantheville, France. In order to gather as much intel as possible, patrols were sent to scout enemy positions during the day, something they’d usually do under the cover of darkness. Exposed by the daylight, two of these patrols were pinned down by rifle and machine gun fire, unable to advance or retreat.
Lieutenant John Millis was the leader of one of these patrols. Both of his legs were wounded, so he ordered his patrol to return to friendly lines without him. Crawling across the battlefield, one soldier was finally able to get back to safety. He alerted the company about both Millis and another officer who was injured and stuck in No Man’s Land. Hearing this, Barger and Funk leaped into action. Without express orders, they rushed onto the battlefield and raced 500 yards to where Lieutenant Millis was pinned down. They brought him back to safety on their stretcher, and then immediately turned back around and did it again, saving the other wounded officer.
For these acts of bravery, both Charles D. Barger and Jesse N. Funk were awarded Medals of Honor on February 9th, 1919. General John J. Pershing presented the awards to them in Chaumont, France.
Despite being a stretcher bearer, Barger was the most decorated American soldier of World War I, a title often falsely given to Alvin York.
The Medal of Honor podcast is a production of Evergreen Podcasts.
Nathan Corson is our executive producer and mixing engineer, Declan Rohrs is our associate producer, scriptwriter, and recording engineer, and I’m Ken Harbaugh.
We are proud to support the National Medal of Honor Museum. To learn more, and to support their mission, go to mohmuseum.org. Thanks for listening.