In WWI, the American 308th regiment was surrounded by enemy forces and under severe mortar and machine gun fire. Casualties were heavy and supplies were short. The unbearable situation intensified when American artillery began shelling the sector where the 308th had dug in. The only communication was by carrier pigeon. In desperation, a sergeant released the last bird with a note pleading for the Americans to hold their fire. As soon as he pigeon lifted off, a stray bullet grazed the side of his head and tore out his left eye. Then a piece of shrapnel hit his chest, shattering his breastbone. But his homing instinct was strong and he struggled onward. Somewhere in the flight another piece of shrapnel tore off his left leg, leaving the message canister dangling from torn ligaments. The pigeon made it to his loft, however, and the order went out immediately to stop shelling. The 308th survived.