Since there have been wars, there have been heroes. Men (and women) who have stared death in the eye and done things we can’t imagine. When you picture these heroes you think of friends and family who have served their country. Epic warriors who are battle-hardened and godlike.
What you might not picture when you think of war heroes are pigeons, horses, and dogs. You should though. There are tons of animals that make the same harrowing sacrifices and acts of bravery… even if they do do it for a milk bone.
Sergeant Stubby Left His Mark on World War I
During World War 1 a new breed of hero would emerge… breed being the key word. Stubby was a bull terrier who felt the call to serve his country. He was found by a Private named J. Robert Conroy as a puppy during a training exercise on the field of the Yale University in 1917. The dog was given the name “Stubby” and soon won over the hearts of the soldiers in the 102nd Infantry 26th Yankee Division.
He learned bugle calls and a variety of other things… including how to salute. When the 102nd was sent to France during World War One, Conroy smuggled Stubby along. It was determined that Stubby was good for moral and he was allowed to continue accompanying the men during the war.
Stubby became accustomed to all the noises during the war like explosions, bullets and other artillery sounds. Stubby was injured by mustard gas, but instead of killing him… it just gave this tough little bastard the ability to help the soldiers identify the gas.
Stubby’s talents began unfolding left and right. He was good at finding wounded men on the battlefield. He was injured several times during his tenure in the war, but nobody could take him down.
One day Stubby caught a German spy trying to map out the base… he bit the man and barked until American’s arrived. He was actually promoted to the rank of Sergeant for his spy hunting and remains the only dog to do so through combat. Sergeant Stubby owned.
Kaiser The Brave Scout Dog
On December 3rd, 1965, Marine Lance Corporal Alfredo Salazar met his new partner and dog. Kaiser was an 85 lbs German Shepherd who had the grit of a true warrior.
The duo was flown into Vietnam and over the course of months they lead many a soldier to safety with the Army’s 26th Scout Dog Platoon.
Kaiser was one bad pooch. He eventually met his demise at the hands of the Viet Cong after an attack. He still managed to put the soldiers of that mission on the path to be able to save their lives.
He was honored by the soldiers who named Camp Kaiser after him. Kaiser was a true hero and we are confident he’s banging many a smokin’ hot poodle in that big dog house in the sky.
Simon The Cat Who Saves Sailors
Simon wasn’t your ordinary cat. Nope, he was a sea cat through and through. He was stationed on the HMS Amethyst with the British Royal Navy during the Chinese civil war in 1949.
His expertise as one of the most highly decorated rat snipers of the war actually helped save the lives of the sailors. His ability to take out rats was uncanny and he managed to protect the food supply from these dirty creatures during a siege. During the battle this soldier was injured with shrapnel. The sailors brought Simon back home after the battle and Simon was greeted with a hero’s welcome.
Sadly the battle wounds were too much for one of Simon’s lives and he passed away. He was posthumously awarded a Dickin medal and will never be forgotten. Now that he is equipped with angel wings, it has taken his rat catching game up to a whole new level.
Nemo The Dog Makes That Fish Look Like A P**sy
Nemo was a German Shepherd who was assigned to patrol with his trainer Airmen 2nd Class Bob Thorneburg outside of a graveyard near the Tan Son Nhut Airbase in Vietnam.
Nemo wasn’t just a dog… he was a champion dog. It was a normal patrol until Nemo heard a noise coming from the cemetary. Before Bob could radio back to command he and the dog were under attack. Bullets were flying everywhere. He unleashed Nemo who went to show those VC’s that Nemo “ain’t nothin’ to f**k with.”
Nemo was shot but because of his massive balls… ignored the wound and proceeded to kick some communist ass. Bob was shot during the fight and the ass-kicking that Nemo bestowed on the enemy bought Bob enough time to call for help.
After the enemy retreated, the wounded Nemo covered Thorneburg and wouldn’t let anyone near him. Doctors worked diligently to save Nemo’s life as well as his good looks. This hardcore pooch was tough enough to go back to the war for more. He was later sent back home with an honorable discharge and was the first sentry dog to retire from active military service. He lived the rest of his life as a high profile celebrity.
Treo Sniffs Bombs Like A Boss
Treo is an 8 year old black Labrador from England. Like other dogs he enjoys ice cold refreshing toilet water, human food, and marking what he owns with his urine.
But he does have a set of skills that separates him from the rest of the canine world. If you’re looking for a hidden bomb, Treo has your back.
He was assigned to the very volatile Helmand Province in Afghanistan where his mission was to locate IEDs. Which he did, twice over -- saving many human lives. For this he was rewarded with many a treat… and also the highest British honor for serving animals: the coveted Dickin Medal.
Treo retired from active service in 2009 and went to live with his handler, Sergeant Dave Heyhoe.
Chips, One of The Baddest War Dogs of All Time
Chips was a German Shepherd donated to the military by a man named Edward J. Wren. Chips was one of the first dogs to serve in a sentry unit.
Chips is famous because he doesn’t just stand by and lick his genitalia during a war. Chips likes to get in the mix. He was great at identifying the enemy and was directly responsible for numerous captures of enemy forces in World War II.
While assigned to the 30th Infantry in Sicily, he ripped himself free from his handler and ran into a pillbox housing enemy soldiers and a wicked nasty machine gun. He brought those fools to their knees and they ended up surrendering.
He was awarded not only the Silver Star, but also a Purple Heart. Both of which were later revoked… but Chips did get his own Disney movie. He was the basis for their TV movie “Chips The War Dog,” so not getting those medals didn’t stop him from being a star!
Sergeant Reckless, The Highly Decorated Marine Hero Horse of The Korean War
Sergeant Reckless the horse has the sweetest name out of the entire animal hero kingdom. It makes him sound like he could take down mad folks in the octagon. Well, the fact of the matter is that he probably could.
Sergeant Reckless had giant stones which allowed the horse to carry ammunition to soldiers during the Korean War. She marched through walls of bullets and fiery explosions 51 times during the war.
She was left behind when her unit returned home, but petitioning quickly brought her stateside. She lived a full life and even birthed some little Sergeant Recklesses.
Smoky The Biggest Little Gladiator
Little Smoky was always a big star with her Yorkshire terrier brilliance and snappy little demeanor. She doesn’t seem like a decorated soldier… but she ended up being a true asset to Americans in World War II.
She belonged to an Ohio man named William Wynn who trained her to do tricks for entertainment. She survived horrid conditions, 12 battles and was awarded eight battle stars.
Her small size also really came in handy during a situation where the troops needed to run communications wire under a culvert. Smoky flawlessly accomplished the task and proved herself as a hero. She came back and was labeled the most famous dog of the war.
She went on to have an illustrious entertainment career. She rocked Hollywood for 10 years and lived to the ripe old age of 14. Smoky, we salute you!
Cher Ami – The “Rambo” of Pigeons
Cher Ami was a carrier pigeon who served with the U.S. Army Signal Corps. in World War I. While there were 600 pigeons relaying messages from soldiers to command units throughout the war… there were quite a few that didn’t make it. Apparently shooting them became high priority for the enemy.
One message launch by the leader of a unit that was isolated from the American fronts in enemy territory known as “The Lost Battalion” of the 77th Infantry division meant life or death for the men. Despite being shot in the breast and missing a leg, Cher Ami delivered the message which ended up saving the lives of 194 American soldiers.
His wounds proved to be fatal, and Cher Ami was honored with several awards including a spot in the Racing Pigeons Hall of Fame in 1931. Cher Ami had skills that makes the Terminator look like a sewing machine.
Never forget the heroes of the animal kingdom who lay it all on the line for freedom and what is good… also treats!