At the time of the battle, George C. Marshall, Jr., the future Army Chief of Staff, 5-star general, Defense Secretary, Secretary of State and author of the renowned "Marshall Plan," was a 37-year-old lieutenant colonel on the staff of the 1st Division. Marshall spent much of May 1918 overseeing scouting missions and gathering intelligence on German positions around the village of Cantigny, at one point dodging enemy machine gun fire as daylight caught him in no-man's land on a patrol. Marshall scripted the plan of attack that proved successful in wresting Cantigny from the grip of the German Army (pictured left as Lt. Col. in April 1918 and right as General of the Army in 1945).
Courtesy Wilson Library, UNC
At zero hour, 21-year-old Private Sam Ervin, Jr. led a team of a dozen soldiers over the top and across no-man's land carrying barbed wire and supplies to construct a strong-point in the village cemetery. In actions for which he would be awarded the Silver Star, Pvt. Ervin led his "carrying party through heavy fire; he made several trips from the rear to the front" until shot in the foot by an enemy bullet. He recovered in time to fight in the offensive at Soissons mid-July, where his bravery in capturing a German machine gun would earn him the Distinguished Service Cross. He would later represent his native North Carolina in the U.S. Senate, gaining acclaim as the chairman of the Watergate Committee (pictured left as an Army trainee in 1917 and right as U.S. Senator in 1973).
At zero hour, 6:45 a.m., May 28, 1918, 29-year old Captain Clarence Huebner of Bushton, Kansas, commander of Company G of the 28th Infantry, led his company across no-man's-land in the attack until receiving word that his battalion commander was mortally wounded. He instantly took command of the battalion, leading the men bravely through two-and-a-half days of fighting before finally being relieved. 26 years later, as a major general, he would command the 1st Division in Operation Overlord, landing with his men at Omaha Beach on "D-Day." He would finish the Second World War as a lieutenant general commanding V Corps (pictured left as Cpt. in 1918 and right as Major General in 1944).