WGA: 2010010
Genre: War – World War I
By Steve Sterling

Ernest Wrentmore is dressed to kill with twin .45 automatics on his hips, a trench knife strapped across his chest, and enough ammunition to take out an enemy platoon. At age 12, Ernest is the youngest American solider in World War I France. He’s about to become a hero. Based on a true story.

Act One
On the first day of school in September 1917, 12-year-old Ernest Wrentmore disappears from his Ohio hometown without a trace. It will be more than a year before his family learns the full story behind his disappearance. Tall, intelligent, and looking older than his years, Ernest lies to a recruiting officer and is inducted into the army under an assumed name. Six months later, Ernest lands in France for advanced training. He polishes his skills as a courier, operating alone delivering vital messages. He gains prowess as a marksman with twin .45 automatics. He deepens his friendships.

Act Two
The company deploys to a quiet section of trench in the French Alps – quiet meaning dozens are killed every week, not hundreds. Ernest fights hand-to-hand in no-man’s land, stumbles into an enemy trench while on a night mission, is strafed by an enemy plane, and buried in an underground dugout during a bombardment. The boy matures as a soldier.

Act Three
Ernest enters the final battle of the war – a battle of movement, not trenches, and vicious hand-to-hand fighting. On a do-or-die mission, he runs alone through enemy territory to deliver a vital message. While evading bullets from a machine gun nest, he jumps into a depression filled with mustard gas. In less than 48 hours, the company is ground down to a few survivors and surrounded. Ernest is dispatched on an “at-all-costs” mission to headquarters to request, food, water, ammunition, and reinforcements. On this run, he must make a decision that will determine the course of the remainder of his life.

Ernest is a likeable protagonist, one whom the audience will be rooting for while on the edge of their seats during horrific WWI battles. He is the youngest doughboy.

Steve Sterling’s experience
Steve has run a successful public relations practice for 18 years. He specializes in making complex topics understandable through the written word. On behalf of major technology companies, he writes dozens of magazine articles each year. A former journalist and contributing magazine editor, he is also the author of a book on sustainable packaging practices. Steve has a lifelong love of history. He spent more than 12 months researching and writing The Youngest Doughboy while working full time.


Blacklist coverage: Fascinating Story
“This is a fascinating story, both from an action perspective, but MOST
importantly, from a character study perspective. How incredible to feel
such a strong sense of duty coupled with determination at such a young
age. It has wonderful prospects: With elements of 1917 and HACKSAW RIDGE
and, a 12 year old protagonist, this is a producible story.”

Feature Film: THE YOUNGEST DOUGHBOY, by Steve Sterling


After running away from home to enlist in the army underage, a 12-year-old American soldier becomes the youngest ever to serve in the US Army during WWI and finds himself in the thick of combat, serving as a high stakes messenger in a bloody battle where the fate of the war hangs in the balance. Based on a true story.

Genre: WWI, War, Coming of Age, Action, Adventure

Type: Feature

WGA: 2010010