Memorial Day honors Americans who have given their lives in the service of our country. This weekend, lets remember that not all soldiers are human- here are just a few of the many dogs, cats, birds and other animals who have protected the American public.
The most famous American War Dog in World War I was a dog named Stubby. Stubby was a stray Pit Bull who was picked up on the streets of Hartford Connecticut by a soldier and smuggled on board his troop ship headed for France. After being gassed himself, Stubby learned to warn his unit of poison gas attacks. He also helped locate wounded american soldiers buried beneath rubble. Stubby was involved in over 17 battles and awarded 6 Medals by the US Military.
During WWI, this pup was found by an American soldier named James Donovan somewhere near Paris. The dog quickly became a mascot for Donovan’s unit, but when Donovan was transferred to the frontlines, he decided to leave Rags behind. Rags was having none of it, however, and tracked Donovan to a trench over 100 miles away. Recognizing the animals tracking potential, Donovan began having Rags run messages between units and locate wounded soldiers.
The top canine hero of World War II was Chips, a German Shepherd who served with the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division.Trained as a sentry dog, Chips broke away from his handlers and attacked an enemy machine gun nest in Italy, forcing the entire crew to surrender.The wounded Chips was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star and the Purple Heart, shortly before passing away.
Roselle, who was never a military recruit, saved over 30 people during the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center. Roselle was a guide dog working with her blind owner on the 78th floor of Tower 1 when the attacks began. She led her owner and 30 others down 1, 463 steps surrounded by fire, debris and smoke so thick it was impossible to see. The decent took over an hour, and the experience left Roselle with permanent damage to her lungs. She received the Dickin Medal for her service and sacrifice.
Judy was a pointer found drifting in the sea by allied troops. Unfortunately for her, these men were almost immediately taken prisoner by enemy forces and moved to a POW camp. These men managed to smuggle Judy in with them, but animals possess no official wartime rights, so it didn’t look to good for our girl Judy. However, an officer named Frank Williams took a shine to the animal and convinced the enemy officers to grant her full POW status. THEIR MISTAKE! Judy began protecting her fellow POWs and saved the lives of numerous prisoners by actively attacking any guards attempting to deliver beatings. Then, things get even crazier! When Williams was being transferred to another POW camp, he managed to convince enemy officers to let her aboard his transfer boat. That boat was promptly torpedoed and sank. And Judy swam back and forth rescuing the drowning men by dragging them to floating pieces of driftwood. Judy disappeared sometime after this, only to re-emerge at Williams’ new POW camp having tracked him there for two weeks.