A new U.S. medal and highest honor to an animal for bravery in both war and peace was instituted in Washington, DC on Capitol Hill on November 14, 2019 during the Inaugural Animals in War and Peace Medal Ceremony.
The Medal of Bravery is awarded to animals conspicuously distinguishing themselves by displaying gallantry and acts of valor within the performance of their duties.
There must be no margin of doubt or possibility of error in awarding this honor. To justify the award, the animal’s service must clearly be rendered conspicuous above his or her expectations by an act so outstanding that it clearly distinguishes his or her gallantry beyond the call of duty from lesser forms of bravery.
The act or execution of duty must be performed in the presence of great danger, or at great risk, and must be performed in such a manner as to set them apart from their fellow working or service animals.
The high standards demanded must be borne in mind when recommending the award.
TO READ THE BIOS OF THE 2019 MEDAL OF BRAVERY RECIPIENTS, click here.
A reception and awards ceremony honoring eight unsung animal heroes recognizing their accomplishments in both war and peace was held on November 14, 2019, in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. This reception was the first step toward a new Congressional Medal of Bravery to underscore America’s appreciation of the sacrifices and heroics of our animals who served our country. This American medal is similar to the British PDSA Dickin Medal, “the Victoria Cross for Animals”. The Dickin Medal has been presented to seventy-one war heroes since WW2, with six of them as American heroes.
Members of Congress handed out the eight medals. Six posthumous medals were awarded to animals that served from World War I to Afghanistan/Iraq. These went to Cher Ami, a pigeon in World War I; GI Joe, a pigeon in World War II; Chips, an Army dog in WWII; Staff Sgt Reckless, the Korean War horse; Stormy, a Marine Corps dog in Vietnam; and Lucca, a Marine Corps dog that served in Afghanistan/Iraq War.
Two medals were given to two current (live) working or retired dogs representing our military services or first responders/police dogs for their bravery, service and sacrifice. These two were Bucca, a New York City Fire Department dog who is the #1 dog in America for accelerant detection; and Multi-Purpose Canine Bass, a Marine Corps forces dog that served with Special Operations (MARSOC).
Medal of Bravery #1: Staff Sgt Reckless (Korean War horse) - Former Senator John Warner (VA) presented medal to Mike Mason who served with Reckless in Korea.
Medal of Bravery #2: Cher Ami (WWI pigeon) - The Honorable Julia Brownley (CA-26th) presented the medal to Robert McKenna, VP, American Racing Pigeon Union, Inc.
Medal of Bravery #3: Chips (WWII Army dog) - The Honorable Jamie Raskin (MD-8th) presented the Medal to John Wren, Chips' owner as a young boy.
Medal of Bravery #4: GI JOE (WWII pigeon) - The Honorable Dina Titus (NV-1st) presented GI Joe's Medal to Tommy DeRosa who handled GI Joe post-war at the Churchill Lofts at Fort Monmouth, NJ. Mr. DeRosa then gave the medal to Col Roger Keen, Director of the US Army Museums.
Medal of Bravery #5: Stormy (Vietnam Marine Corps dog) - The Honorable Sanford Bishop (GA-2nd) presented the medal to Stormy's handler in Vietnam, Ron Aiello, President of the US War Dog Association.
Medal of Bravery #6: Lucca K458 (Afghanistan/Iraq - IED detection dog) - The Honorable Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18th) presented Lucca's medal to GnySgt Chris Willingham, her handler and later owner.
Medal of Bravery #7: K-9 Bucca (NY City Fire Department, #1 Accelerant Detection team in the country) - Linda Blick, President of Tails of Hope Foundation, Inc. gave the medal to the Honorable Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40th) who presented Bucca's medal to Fire Marshal Joe DiGiacomo, Bucca's handler.
Medal of Bravery #8: MPC Bass (Afghanistan/Iraq/Somalia) - The Honorable Ron Wright presented Bass's medal to SSgt Alex Schnell, his handler and now owner.
A SHORT LIST OF PRESS LINKS FOR THE EVENT (Click here for more!)
Saturday, Nov.16, 2019 Washington Post, Page 3 “Animals honored with new medal for wartime bravery" and Kids Post, Sunday, November 18, 2019
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