A runner was a soldier responsible for passing on messages between fronts during war. This was arguably the most dangerous job of all, since these soldiers obviously had to leave the safety of a trench, bunker or any other kind of shelter in order to move from one front to the other. One example is World War I, which was dominated by trench warfare. This necessitated lots of runners. Passing messages between the trenches was not possible without climbing up to ground level and running towards the other trench. While on the ground, the soldier was completely exposed to enemy lookouts, and it was commonplace for runners to die before reaching their destination. For the same reason, communication between fronts was very difficult during World War I, and the officers could not be sure that a message has reached its recipient unless the runner actually managed to return. Runners were very important and key in early wars, particularly World War I.
Adolf Hitler was a runner for the German army during World War I, and he was wounded twice. Runners were often decorated for bravery, and Hitler was no exception, receiving both second class and first class Iron Cross during the war.