The Badass of the Week.

Sgt. Henry Lincoln Johnson

In early 1918, Henry Lincoln Johnson was working as a humble redcap porter in the New York City Subway system, which basically means that his job revolved around picking incredibly heavy things up and putting them wherever The Man told him to.  As you can probably imagine, this type of work sucks balls.  Well when the United States decided it was sick of Germany's bullshit and joined in the 24-Hour All-Night European Booze-and-Babes Fiesta known as World War I, Johnson knew that this was a perfect opportunity to go to France and beat the shit out of some stupid jackasses.  He enlisted into the New York National Guard and was shipped out with the all-black 369th Infantry Division, better known as "The Harlem Hellfighters".

Unfortunately, early on in the campaign the Hellfighters really didn't have the opportunity to dole out these much-needed assbeatings, because as you can probably imagine the cracker-ass American High Command decided to give the all-black regiment every single bullshit job on the Western Front.  They unloaded cargo vessels, dug ditches and did all sorts of fucking menial shit, the extent of which fell somewhere between janitorial work and dishwashing on the Badassery Scale.  Finally, after weeks of this bullcrap with no end in sight, the French Command was like, "well if you jerks won't let these guys get in there and start busting heads than we will", and decided to see if "Harlem Hellfighters" was more than just a clever name.  The 369th and Johnson were tranferred to the French Command and immediately pressed into service in the Argonne Forest.

Well like a week after they were transferred, Sergeant Henry Johnson and his buddy, Private Needham Roberts, were put on guard duty one night and told to keep an eye out for any Kraut bastard desperately in need of having a bullet jammed into his ocular cavity.  So Johnson and Needham were just out there minding their own business when all of a sudden an entire platoon of German Infantry (between twenty-five and thirty men) came running out of nowhere and started kicking the crap out of the two Americans.  Johnson was hit with a grenade and shot in the chest with a motherfucking shotgun, while Roberts was shot twice with a pistol and knocked to the floor like a sack of potatoes that had just been shot twice at close range with a fucking handgun.  The Germans rushed in, gave Johnson the finger, grabbed Roberts, and hauled him off as a prisoner.

Well Henry Lincoln Johnson wasn't about to sit around and let that shit fly.  As the Germans headed back to their secret lair deep below the Earth's crust, Johnson managed to somehow stagger back to his feet and start firing his rifle like a madman.  The Germans continued to make their escape however, so Johson harnessed his immense powers of Getting Super Fucking Pissed and started charging after them, gun blazing.  When his weapon jammed, he started chucking grenades at them.  When he finally caught the poor bastards, he started wailing on them with his rifle butt.  When he broke his rifle over some jerk's head he reached over and whipped out his bolo knife:

Now try and picture this for a minute.  You've got one dude who's already been shot twenty-one motherfucking times with everything from shotguns to rifles, armed only with a fucking machete, in the midst of about twenty German soldiers and he's going off like Miyamoto Musashi, hacking these bastards to pieces while they stand around like Black Ninjas from a bad 70's Kung Fu flick.  Despite massive injuries, Johnson samurai-slashed, weaved and hacked at anything that moved.  He killed four men, wounded an additional twenty-four, strode over the a huge steaming pile of dismembered corpses and dragged Pvt. Roberts back to his foxhole.  The next morning when reinforcements arrived they found the two wounded men sitting together singing some sweet-ass jazz songs around a raging campfire.

Johnson was the first American to ever receive the Croix de Guerre, the highest award for bravery offered by the French Government.  Just in case you think that "the highest award for bravery offered by the French Government" is an oxymoron, note that he also received the United States' Distinguished Service Cross as well.  He returned home as a hero, got a ticker-tape parade in New York City, had a son who went on to be a Tuskeegee Airman (no small feat of badassery in and of itself) and is now remembered as one of the most badass American heroes of World War I.


Sgt. Henry Johnson

Arlington Cemetary



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