Sergeant Laurence M. Lumpkin was one of the thousands of trained Quartermaster soldiers on the Western Front in Europe in World War I. Assigned to the AEF’s First Division, this Danville, Virginia, native found himself in charge of QM Pack Train Number 1 in the Argonne Forest -- when all hell broke loose.
On 4 October 1918, German batteries opened fire on the First Division’s sector of the line. Then followed with a heavy machinegun and rifle-fire barrage. The cry went out for more barrier material at the front, and Sergeant Lumpkin’s crew quickly responded.
Moving across the open terrain of No Man’s Land under constant fire the whole way, he lost five of his ten mules, but made the final dash to safety -- and delivered the much needed material to shore up the trench line. Having survived such an ordeal, this determined NCO made a second run forward later in the action.
For his extraordinary heroism that day, Sergeant Lumpkin was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the second highest honor that a grateful nation can bestow on troops in combat.
Compiled by Dr. Steven Anders, former Quartermaster School historian
Event: World WarI QM Awarded DSC
Date: October 1918
"A soldier’s life is a hard one, interspersed with some real dangers."
- Andre Maurois Les Silences de Colonel Bramble (1917)