ROBESON TOWNSHIP – A large wooded area along the 700 block of Green Hills Road in Robeson Township, Berks County, is about to take its place in movie-making history.
Douglassville-based film producer Harrison Stengle, who according to FilmFreeway.com creates “experimental, unorthodox” works that involve “non-traditional plot innovation,” is scheduled to film a night-time combat action movie there. The production team will be on-site between June 3 (Saturday) and June 15 (Thursday) nightly from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., the township Police Department reported.
The department’s Tuesday (May 30) announcement acknowledged “there will be gunfire and explosive events occurring.” Residents who live near the area “may hear the sounds of the pyrotechnics” that are being used in the filming, it said.
In addition to Robeson police, it added, the Cumru Township Police Department, various local fire companies, emergency medical service teams, and the Berks County Department of Emergency Services all have been notified of the event. They could be expected to be on stand-by to deal with any public safety issues.
Green Hills Road, part of state Route 568, runs between Green Hills and Gibraltar within the township. The filming location is said to be about two miles northeast of the Natural Lands Green Hills Preserve. It is unknown if public access will be provided at the site.
‘The first American hero of World War I’
Stengle’s film, the title of which was not announced, tells the story of the World War I heroics of Sgt. Henry Johnson. Johnson was a 26-year-old soldier from Albany NY who, in May 1918, “found himself fighting for his life against 20 German soldiers out in front of his unit’s trenchline” in northeastern France, a U.S. Defense Department article said.
In successfully fighting to save his life and that of another soldier, Johnson was “wounded 21 times and had become the first American hero of World War I,” the Defense Department noted, citing a reporter’s account. He also earned the nickname “Black Death.” Both were awarded the Croix du Guerre, France’s highest military honor.
Johnson died in 1929, and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. “Former President Theodore Roosevelt called Johnson one of the five bravest Americans to serve in World War I,” the Defense Department stated.
President Barack Obama in 2015, upon the department’s recommendation, posthumously presented Johnson with the Medal of Honor. It was accompanied by the Gold Palm “for extraordinary valor.”
Photos of Sgt. Henry Johnson and the Medal of Honor from the Defense Department