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15 Of The Bravest Military Animals To Ever Serve Their Country

Sometimes the bravest are also the furriest.

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1. Sergeant Stubby

Library Of Congress

Sergeant Stubby earned his rank as the most decorated war dog of World War I. This tiny terrier met combat in 17 battles in the trenches of France, warned his unit of incoming poison gas and mortar attacks, found his wounded comrades on the battlefield, and even captured a German spy!

2. Lex

ohmidog.com

Lex and his handler, Corporal Dustin J. Lee of the United States Marine Corps, deployed to Iraq in late November 2006 as an explosive detection and patrol team. Tragically, Lee was killed when insurgents attacked his forward operating base just weeks prior his 21st birthday. Despite being wounded by the blast, Lex refused to leave Lee's side until other Marines arrived to administer aid.

3. Simon

Getty Images

Simon was a ship's cat who served on the Royal Navy's HMS Amethyst. In 1949, this cat sustained wounds after the ship was caught in the Chinese Civil War. The crew didn't think that Simon would make it through the night, but the cat carried on, boosting morale by hunting the rats who were overrunning the damaged ship. Simon eventually succumbed to his wounds and was awarded the Animal Victoria Cross, the Dickin Medal, and the Blue Cross medal for his bravery.

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4. Smoky

olive-drab.com

Smoky was a Yorkshire Terrier that weighed only 4 pounds and served in the Pacific theater during World War II. After being found by an American soldier in a New Guinea fox hole, Smoky tagged along into 12 combat missions, survived 150 air raids, and was awarded 8 battle stars!

5. Gustav the Pigeon

Press Association

Gustav was a pigeon of the RAF pigeon service during World War II. Following the allied landings in Normandy, Gustav travelled 150 miles in 5 hours to give commanders the first word of the landing's success. For his bravery, Gustav was awarded the prestigious PDSA Dickin Medal.

6. Treo

Afp / AFP / Getty Images

Treo is a retired Arms and Explosives Search Dog who also earned the Dickin Medal for his bravery in sniffing out roadside bombs in Afghanistan, saving the lives of countless British soldiers and civilians.

7. Rags

Public Domain

Army Private James Donovan mistook this dog for a pile of rags when he first found him, hence the name "Rags". In 1918, when the two of them and an infantry unit of 42 men were cut off and surrounded by German troops, Rags carried a message for support that resulted in their rescue. He continued to carry messages throughout the war until both Donavan and Rags were injured by German artillery and gas. Rags quickly recovered from his wounds, but Donovan succumbed a year later in 1919.

8. Nemo A534

United States Air Force

In 1966 while stationed in Vietnam, Nemo A534 alerted his handler to a group of hidden Viet Cong that were watching in the bushes at night. The ensuing confrontation left the enemy soldiers incapacitated, but as a result, Nemo was blinded in one eye and his handler severely injured by gunfire. Nemo crawled atop of his handers body and remained there until medics were able to save them both.

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9. Dolphins of MK6

Navy

Since the 1960s, the United States Navy Marine Mammal Program has trained various sea mammals for combat, reconnaissance, and recovery missions. The dolphins of MK6 have served everywhere from Vietnam to the Persian Gulf, gathering intelligence, locating underwater mines, and keeping a watchful eye for incoming enemy swimmers.

10. Corporal Jackie the baboon

AP

When Albert Marr of South Africa volunteered to fight in WWI, he asked if his pet baboon could come along. For some reason, his superiors allowed it! Jackie the baboon quickly became a mascot for the troops and a huge boost of morale. In 1918, Jackie lost his right leg during an attack by German artillery and was forced into retirement as a Corporal. He lived out the rest of his life peacefully on the Marr family farm, while Albert Marr lived until 84.

11. Chips

smg.photobucket.com

Chips is the most decorated dog of WWII. On the beaches of Sicily, Chips and his handler were pinned down by Italian gun fire. After breaking free from his leash, Chips attacked the gunners and forced the enemy soldiers to surrender.

12. Sinbad

Public Domain

During WWII, the crew of the USCGC Campbell argued that Sinbad was a true sailor because he enjoyed "drinking coffee, whiskey with beer chasers at port bars, having regular and general quarters duty stations, and generally demonstrating seamanship." Sinbad saw plenty of combat aboard the Cambell and was the recipient of 6 prestigious medals–all of which were displayed proudly upon his collar.

13. Sergeant Reckless

USMC

Sergeant Reckless was purchased by a group of United States Marines from a Korean stableboy in 1952. After being trained to carry supplies, Reckless soon participated in a number of combat missions during the Korean War–earning the horse two Purple Hearts, a Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, and a number of other military honors. Sergeant Reckless also once ate $30 in poker chips!

14. Cambodian Rats

Taylor Weidman / Getty Images

In this picture, a mine detection rat is given banana as a reward for successfully identifying a mine in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The Cambodian Mine Action Center and APOPO has recently begun using rats from Tanzania to help clear fields of mines and unexploded ordnance in one of the most bombed and mined countries in the world.

15. Fenji

iraqwarheroes.org

On Fenji's first deployment to Afghanistan, she sniffed out 4 improvised explosive devices ahead of 10 U.S. Marines. After notifying the Marines of their presence, the explosives were remotely detonated by the terrorists, injuring Fenji and killing her 23 year old handler, U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Max Donahue. Fenji, alongside Cpl. Donahue, are considered heroes for their remarkable bravery, duty, and sacrifice.

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