10 Of The Bravest Dogs Who Ever Served In The Military
With their fearless and loyal nature, military dogs are often considered the unsung heroes of combat. Yet while their stories aren’t as well-known as those of their human counterparts, that doesn’t mean they’re no less valuable.
Like their human comrades, many brave pooches went above and beyond the call of duty—and risked their lives—to serve their country. Just take these 16 military dogs for example. Their bravery shows that heroes come in all shapes, sizes… and breeds!
1. Smoky: Discovered in a New Guinea jungle and adopted by American soldier Bill Wynne, this four-pound Yorkshire terrier went on to earn a medal of honor after he warned Wynne of an incoming enemy attack on a transport ship during World War II.
2. Lucca: In 2012, while protecting a Marine platoon, this poor pooch lost her leg as the result of a roadside bomb. Nonetheless, the resilient pup went on to live a happy three-legged life!
3. Treo: Many dogs are trained to sniff out explosives, but this British pup’s abilities were particularly exceptional. His skills in detecting roadside bombs ultimately saved hundreds of human lives, and he was awarded with the Dickin Medal, which honors animals in war!
4. Sergeant Stubby: The most highly decorated World War I American dog accomplished quite a bit, like nabbing German spies. But one tale in particular stands out. In 1918, his battalion was attacked with poisonous gas…
Sergeant Stubby miraculously survived the ordeal. Afterwards, he developed an extreme sensitivity to such attacks. So when it happened again shortly after, he managed to wake all of the soldiers in his unit and save their lives in the process!
5. Rags: Private James Donovan found Rags, a carrier dog, while he was stationed in Paris during World War I. Both Rags and Private Donovan became injured in a gas attack. Though the soldier passed away from injuries, Rags survived, and he went on to make rank of Lieutenant Colonel!
6. Gander: Sent to Hong Kong to defend the Royal Rifles of Canada from Japanese attacks during World War II, Gander gained prominence for attacking enemy soldiers. Sadly, during the Battle of Lye Mun, he lost his life after a grenade fell near some soldiers. He picked it up and ran in the opposite direction, saving their lives. For this act, he was posthumously awarded the Dickin Medal.
7. Sallie: A mascot for the 11th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War, Sallie’s job went far beyond its description. In fact, she accompanied soldiers right into battle, and at one point, she became separated from her unit at Gettysburg…
Sallie was eventually found by her unit some three days later, standing over and protecting the deceased and wounded. She lost her life at the Battle at Hatcher’s Run and was ultimately honored with a monument at Gettysburg.
8. Sinbad: A member of the Coast Guard from 1938 to 1949, Sinbad was onboard his unit’s cutter ship when a Nazi U-606 submarine attacked it. Even when his fellow sailors were transferred to a different vessel, he stayed with the ship while it was towed and repaired. He was laid to rest at the Barnegat Light Station.
9. Valdo: In 2011, during a mission in Afghanistan where he was based with his handler, Petty Officer 3rd Class Ryan Lee, Valdo managed to shield four troops from a rocket-propelled grenade attack. He was hit with much of the shrapnel, though everyone involved survived.
10. Nemo: On December 3, 1966 during the Vietnam War, Nemo’s handler, Airman Second Class Robert Thorneburg, was shot in the shoulder. Nemo himself was shot in the muzzle; the bullet entered through his eye and exited through his mouth…