Medals of Bravery and Distinguished Service Medals were Awarded to Six Animal Heroes
(Washington, D.C. – March 15, 2023)
WATCH FULL CEREMONY HERE - WITH INTERVIEWS OF MEDALISTS AND ATTENDEES
The Third Annual Animals in War & Peace Medal Ceremony recognized and honored six unsung U.S. animal heroes for their accomplishments in both war and peace in Washington, DC on March 8, 2023 at the Rayburn House Office Building with five U.S. Members of Congress.
Since 1943, the United Kingdom has been the only country in the world to honor animals with its international PDSA Dickin Medal, also known as “the Victoria Cross for Animals.”
U.S. House of Representatives Julia Brownley (CA) introduced and welcomed guests. U.S House of Representatives Gus Bilirakis (FL), Don Bacon (NB), Maxwell Frost (FL) and Mike Quigley (IL) presented medals to America’s six animal heroes for either the Animals in War & Peace Medal of Bravery or Distinguished Service Medal which are both commensurate with the British PDSA Dickin Medal. U.S. House of Representative Chaplain, Reverend Dr. Margaret Grun Kibben offered the invocation and participated with medal presentations and a blessing of the animals.
The Animals in War & Peace Medal of Bravery was awarded to one pigeon and four canines that served in past wars (posthumous) representing U.S. military services. The 2023 heroes are The Mocker (WW1 pigeon); K9 Jafar (Baytown, TX Police Dept (alive)); MWD Paco P352 (U.S. Army (alive)); MPC Kay (75th Army Ranger Regiment); and MPC Shimanski (Marine Corps Special Operations Command (alive)).
The Animals in War & Peace Distinguished Service Medal, was awarded to a horse named Sgt. York (U.S. Army Caisson Platoon (alive)). Sgt. York is distinguished by his exceptionally meritorious service to our nation in a duty of great responsibility.
To continue the efforts of creating the annual process of recognizing our U.S. animal heroes, a second House Resolution will be introduced later this spring sponsored by Representative Gus Bilirakis (FL).
Nominations are now being accepted for the 4th Annual Medal Ceremony tentatively scheduled for March 2024. Go to https://animalsinwarandpeace.org/nomination-form-1
For more information and photos: Robin Hutton, (805) 603-2174, firstname.lastname@example.org; Mari Lou Livingood, (703) 297-5961, email@example.com;or go to https://AnimalsInWarAndPeace.org/2023-awp-medalists
Click here to view the livestream video of the Ceremony.
Photo: (Back row, l-r): Brad Mrsny & MWD Paco P352, Travis Harrison (MPC Kay), Brandon Marquez and Shimanski, Cpl. Jeremy Stevens and K9 Jafar. (Front row, l-r): SPC Carlos Aispuro (Sgt. York), SPC Bryce DeGraca (Sgt. York), Capt Carlin Keally (Sgt. York), Tammy Call (NMUSA - The Mocker), and Paul Morando (NMUSA - The Mocker)
DSM #4 - Sgt York: Army Caisson Platoon - Military Working Equine (MWE) (alive): Sgt York served 25 years as one of the Caisson Platoon’s most important and storied MWEs. He became a Caparisoned Horse (Cap Horse), a riderless horse that symbolizes an officer’s final ride in battle, where empty boots are faced backward in the stirrups. He was the Cap Horse in President Ronald Reagan’s funeral, and countless other dignitaries. In 2004, he was selected as Horse of the Month by the US Trotting Association.
MOB #12 - K9 Jafar: Baytown Police, Texas, Multi-purpose SWAT, Narcotics Detection, Patrol, Belgian Malinois (alive) - Jafar and his partner were called up to a barricaded armed suspect situation where a suspect was reported to have piles of weapons and was firing shots from a handgun into his neighbors’ homes. After an eight-hour standoff, K-9 Jafar was deployed into the residence, which had been heavily tear-gassed. Jafar located the suspect hiding in a pantry with two small dogs. Jafar apprehended the suspect, who in turn grabbed Jafar by the head holding his muzzle closed as the cover officers moved into the residence and apprehended him without further violence.
MOB #13 - The Mocker: WWI, U.S. Army Signal Corps, Homing Pigeon: During the Battle of Saint-Mihiel in Sept 1918, Mocker arrived with a message from the frontlines, despite his right eye having been destroyed by a shell fragment and his head a mass of clotted blood. Thanks to Mocker’s flight, the German artillery guns were silenced in only 20 minutes. Even with the loss of an eye, Mocker continued to fly once he healed, eventually credited with carrying 33 messages during the war.
MOB #14 - MWD Paco P352: U.S. Army, Afghanistan, Belgian Malinois (alive). Deployed to Afghanistan in October 2012 in support of Operation Detachment Alpha/Special Operations Task Force. Paco led the unit during night raids on villages in extremely hostile territories, positively identified 33 IEDs during different missions. Paco was also wounded with shrapnel, but returned to duty after being treated for injuries. Upon his return, Paco led a 30-truck convoy 20 miles during an evacuation that was constantly fired upon with small arms and rocket propelled grenades. He found 19 IEDs in a 24-hour period during this exfil alone.
MOB #15 - MPC Kay: 75th Army Ranger Regiment, Afghanistan/Iraq, Belgian Malinois: MPC Kay served from 2007–2011 as a Multi-Purpose Canine trained in apprehension, tracking, explosive and article detection, area searches, and hunting down fleeing insurgents. MPC Kay successfully completed over 200 Special Operation nighttime raids, over 75 day operations, and apprehended several high-profile Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders during his four deployments. Additionally, Kay located an important phone sim card that was thrown by a high value target during a raid that was the key that unlocked a new web of leaders in a specific terror cell.
MOB #16 - MPC Shimanski: MARSOC, Afghanistan/Iraq/Jordan/Somalia, Belgian Malinois (alive): MPC Shimanski served 4 tours in 7 years. During one operation in Sangin, Afghanistan, the Team Chief was fatally wounded. Shimanski, his handler, and two other members of the unit rushed to the point of injury. Under extremely heavy enemy direct and indirect fire, regardless of his own safety, MPC Shimanski exited the vehicle with his handler to begin establishing a safe path to their wounded teammate and the surrounding area. The team cleared two hasty helicopter landing zones to evacuate their team member. MPC Shimanski performed to the highest standard, under gravely dangerous conditions, without error.
Honoring animal heroes that have served our country on the war and home fronts with Medals of Bravery and Distinguished Service Medals. Please join us and support these great heroes!
All donations are tax deductible.
GOLD DONORS $5,000+
Timothy T Day Foundation - Phoenix, AZ
SILVER DONORS $2,500+
Ramona and Lee Bass - Ft. Worth, TX
Watts & Sally Humphrey - Harrodsburg, KY
MedVet - Worthington, OH
Peterson Family Foundation - Fairfax, VA
- Martha and Steven Peterson
Deborah Sergesketter - Greeley, CO
Mary & Gary West - Rancho Santa Fe, CA
BRONZE DONORS $1,000+
Roy Lee McClellan Estate - Erie, CO
In Memory and Honor of LTJG Roy Lee McCellan by his children
Southern Cross Service Dogs - Winter Garden, FL
Three Pearls Charities, Inc. - Portland, OR
Tyler Huggins - Philadelphia, PA
In honor of an amazing PT and her continued effort and support of this foundation...Mary and Kona
Brian Karlow - Hollywood, MD
Shelley Laub - Columbia, MD
In honor and memory of Michael Mason
Jamie McLaughlin - Chicago, IL
A very special thanks to Marathon Services and Military Animal Project for the printing of our ceremony program and handouts!