The dogs that serve in the United States Armed Forces are often unsung heroes. These brave dogs not only protect their handlers and themselves, but they also guard military installations and provide security at embassies. Dogs can be trained to detect explosives or patrol for intruders, and some have even attacked enemy soldiers to defend our freedom.
Without further ado, here is Barking Buddha’s list of heros. Don’t forget to grab a bag of Beef Cheeks for your pup to celebrate alongside these heroes.
K-9 Veterans Day
Canine Veterans Day falls on March 13th and is a day to honor all the dogs who have served across all branches of the United States military. These brave animals have put their lives on the line to protect us, and they deserve our gratitude. While dogs have their own branch of the military, the K-9 Corps, you can find these heroes in quite a few different service areas.
However, dogs should be celebrated as a whole, but some canine companions have gone above and beyond the call of duty.
The United States Armed Forces has honored the sacrifice and courage of military animals in the past through both official honors–before they were formally prohibited when given to dogs–as well as special tributes designed particularly for serving enlisted creatures. Here are some of the most renowned and decorated armed forces pets to ever serve.
When the United States joined the war, the Wren family provided Husky-crossbreed, Chips, to Dogs for Defense as a gift. From there, he beat the odds and made it through dog BootCamp. Out of the 40,000 dogs that were a part of the initial training, only about 10,000 graduated.
After Chips training, he traveled with Private Rowell to French Morocco. Furthermore, during Allied Forces’ strategy meetings, Chips met Winston Churchill and Franklin D Roosevelt and had the honor of guarding them.
As part of ‘Operation Husky,’ Private Rowell and Chips were sent to Sicily for the invasion. In July of 1943, Chips helped lead his team ashore, where they were attacked, and Chips broke rank and charged the enemy despite gunfire.
Chips survived the brutal battle with a few minor injuries. However, his brave actions saved the lives of his platoon that day.
Chips was awarded the PDSA Dickin Medal for his actions. This medal was introduced by the charity’s founder, Maria Dickin CBE, in 1943 and is the highest award any animal can achieve while serving in military conflict.
Alt-Text: Chips the war dog hero. (Source)
For eight long months, Sergent Stubby served in the trenches in France during World War I. Despite being surrounded by constant combat, Sergeant Stubby only received two injuries during his time served. However, his bravery led him to earn two stripes, and he was honored with a Purple Heart and a Gold Medal for his sacrifice.
Smoky is perhaps the smallest dog on our list, but don’t let that fool you. This little Yorkie packed a punch. This little war hero served in World War II, and she was known to ward off enemy fighters. Oh, and she also would parachute from 30 feet using a specifically made chute.
Overall she was awarded eight battle stars. Furthermore, she concluded her tour by earning the PDSA Certificate for her bravery and devotion. The Yorkshire Terrier National Rescue will annually give out a Smoky Award to honor this impressive hero.
Lucca is a famous explosive detection dog that served six years with the Marines in Afghanistan. Overall this Malinois mix completed over 400 missions and never lost a soldier during these runs.
However, Lucca’s tour ended when she was injured by an IED and needed to have her leg amputated. She earned a PDSA Dickin Medal and a Purple Heart for her bravery and service.
Nemo, the German Shepherd, was on patrol with Airman Bob Thorneburg in December of 1966 when they fell under an enemy ambush. This brave dog took a bullet to his eye during the attack. However, he pressed on and attacked the Viet Cong guerilla soldiers. His bravery gave Throneburg enough time to call for backup.
Furthermore, while the two fought on, Throneburg became unconscious, and Nemo bravely protected the soldier with his own body. The brave dog revised to let anyone touch the fallen handler. Both Nemo and Throneburg received treatment and survived due to this dog’s bravery.
Alt-Text: War dog hero Nemo. (Source)
During the clash of Guam, Dobermans earned themselves the name “Devil Dog.” However, Kurt was one of the best. During WWII, he valiantly saved more than 200 Marines.
While his bravery saved their lives, he was mortally wounded. However, he became the poster dog for the first War Dog Memorial and was the first buried there. Beside him rests 24 of his comrades. “Always Faithful” was inscribed on the memorial that Kurt sits upon to honor all the Dobermans who served and sacrificed during the battle at Guam.
Alt-Text: A war doberman hero and handler in Guam. (Source)
On October 27th, 2019, Conan captured Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the former leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), in Syria during the Barisha offensive. He went after Baghdadi into a tunnel where Abu detonated his suicide vest. While Conan was injured, he fully recovered and returned to work.
Other Honorable Mentions
Decorated War Horse Staff Sergeant Reckless is one of the most decorated horses in military history. Reckless served in many combat situations during the Korean War, carrying ammunition and other resources while evacuating wounded soldiers. She received two Purple Hearts, the Dickin Medal, two Navy Presidential Unit Citations, and four Korean Service Medals for her service.
Tirpitz was a pig and the mascot of HMS Glasgow during the First World War. She had initially been kept onboard a German cruiser until it sank. However, Tirpitz was abandoned with the ship, and she managed to escape and swim away from the sinking vessel. A nearby crew jumped in to rescue the frightened animal, nearly drowning in the process.
Cher Ami, an impressive Pidgeon despite a hole in her chest and a nearly amputated leg, took to the air and delivered her message saving more than 190 soldiers. That’s one brave bird.
Alt-Text: Cher Ami on display with her achievements. (Source)
Simon was a ship’s cat and became riddled with shrapnel and partially burnt by artillery fire during an assault but returned to duty to eliminate a swarm of rats that endangered the food rations on board.
Despite suffering multiple attacks, Siwash the Duck of the Marines continued her attack and triumphed. According to a citation about Marine Corps in Life magazine. This brave duck refused to accept medical help until the rest of her section was cared for. Furthermore, Siwash later saw action at Saipan and Tinian.
These brave animals who fought in wars are a testament to the loyalty of these incredible creatures. They all demonstrated exceptional courage, bravery, and selflessness throughout their service by putting themselves on the line to keep our men and women safe. All of them are a testament to friendship and heroism.
Barking Buddha has natural dog chews. We take pride in honoring these K9 Heros. Check out our full line of supplies and spoil your own hero today.