Pigeons, Dogs and a Horse Given US Bravery Medal

Pigeons, Dogs and a Horse Given US Bravery Medal
  • Before 1914 wars were mainly fought by soldiers on horseback.
  • The most popular dogs to fight in WWI were German Shepherds and Doberman Pinchers.
  • Casualty dogs carried medical equipment and were trained to find injured soldiers so they could treat themselves.
  • There were 100,000 carrier pigeons used to send messages during WWI. 

Animals have been an important part of war since the beginning of time. While horses and dogs usually come to mind, the US military has used many different animals, including dolphins, pigeons and even bats.

Recently, people gathered at the Senate building on Capitol Hill to award the Animals in War & Peace Medal of Bravery to eight animals.

One of those animals was GI Joe the pigeon, whose stuffed and mounted body was on display during the awards ceremony. GI Joe served in World War II (WWII) and passed away 58 years ago. During his time in the war, he saved more than 100 soldiers by delivering a message that ended up aborting a bombing.

Another animal to receive the Medal of Bravery was Sergeant Reckless, a horse who served with the Marines. He slept with them, could carry 9,000 pounds of ammunition over steep, ice-covered hills and loved beer and bacon. After his participation in the 1953 Battle for Outpost Vegas, he was named a staff sergeant.

Other animals given awards were a pet husky who served in WWII, a German Shepherd that captured enemy soldiers in Vietnam and Lucca, a German Shepherd/Belgian Malinois mix who had only three legs because of the roadside bombs she helped detect while in Afghanistan. Lucca passed away in January 2018.

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