As the US celebrates Memorial Day , a day of remembrance for those who lost their lives in service for the nation, let’s not forget the brave animals who have also played their parts in war efforts throughout the years.
As Paw Nation points out: "Not all war heroes are humans. Animals have been part of military service since ancient times."
In America, one of the most decorated animals is a dog named Sgt. Stubby, who served in 17 World War I battles and was awarded several medals, including the Purple Heart.
Sgt Stubby began his career in 1917 with the 102nd Infantry 26th (Yankee) Division after America entered the war. The pit bull terrier provided morale boosts, delivered early warnings of gas attacks and woke sleeping sentry to alert them to German attack.
Scroll down for a gallery of animals who have been commended for their war efforts
He was once injured in the foreleg by a grenade as he patrolled the trenches.
In the Argonne, Sgt Stubby flushed out a German spy by holding onto the seat of his trousers until soldiers arrived to capture him, reports the Connecticut Military Department.
Sgt Stubby died in in 1926 in his owner’s arms after being smuggled back to the US following his time in France. He is stuffed and on display in The Price of Freedom: Americans at War exhibit at the Smithsonian.
Dolphins are also stars among the US Navy, with a bottlenose named K-Dog earning a name for his ability to locate underwater mines.
While the US has no official animals award scheme, Britain’s People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals has been awarding the Dickin Medal to acknowledge outstanding acts of bravery displayed by animals serving with the Armed Forces or Civil Defence units in any theatre of war, worldwide.
The bronze medallion is inscribed with “For Gallantry” and “We Also Serve” and is seen as an animal equivalent to Britain's Victoria Cross.
In 2012, Treo the Labrador was awarded the medal for recognition of his help uncovering a series of Taliban bombs during his time serving in Helmand Province, in 2008, AP reported.
Treo’s canine courage decoration took place in London’s Imperial War Museum and made him the 18th dog to receive the award, since its inception in 1943.
Other animals to have received the medal include 32 pigeons – mostly for delivering messages during the Second World War and its aftermath.
A commendation for “Winkie” praised the pigeon: “For delivering a message under exceptionally difficult conditions and so contributing to the rescue of an Air Crew while serving with the RAF in February, 1942.”
Three horses and a cat were also recipients of the award. The feline in question, Simon, was honoured after his death in 1949, for his efforts while serving on the HMS Amethyst during the Yangtze Incident, where he disposed of many rats despite being wounded by shell blast.
The commendation adds: “Throughout the incident his behaviour was of the highest order, although the blast was capable of making a hole over a foot in diameter in a steel plate.”
We salute you!
Sergeant Stubby (Wikipedia)
A replica of Cher Ami, the US Signal Corps photo pigeon that was awarded the 'Croix de Guerre' by the French government in WWI for heroic service after flying over France wounded 25 miles in 25 minutes with a automatic camera strapped to his chest taking battlefield photos is on display at Washington DC's newest attraction, The International Spy Museum, which will open 19 July 2002 at 8th and 'F' Streets downtown, seen here in the Berlin Tunnel re-creation . The 68,000 square-foot museum is the first of it's kind in the US and is solely dedicated to the tradecraft, history, and contemporary role of espionage through the ages. interactive exhibits, exclusive artifacts, as well as a high end restaurant await the visitor with adults paying $11.00(USD), $8.00(USD) for children. AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
Sarbi, the 10-year-old Labrador-Newfoundland mix, earned himself a Purple Cross after serving as a bomb-sniffing dog in Afghanistan. Sarbi went missing for more than a year during his service. Luckily, 13 months later, an American special-forces soldier found the brave dog in a remote part of the province (facebook.com/MilitaryWorkingDogs)
Military working dog Desant, 100th Security Forces Squadron, takes a breather during his retirement ceremony at the military working dog facility. Desant served for eight years and worked over 9,000 working hours, 2,500 of which were in explosive detection. Desant served his country and the U.S. Air Force by conducting 10 Secret Service missions in support of former presidents, vice-presidents and a first lady in Northern Ireland, Romania, and all over the United Kingdom (facebook.com/MilitaryWorkingDogs)
Sgt. Rick Bousfield holds Pfc. Hammer, the Iraq-born cat that joined his infantry company during their deployment in Iraq. The Executive Committee of TheraPet, Inc. voted to award Pfc. Hammer its first Honorary Membership "for services rendered to our servicemen and women serving in Iraqi Freedom." Hammer spent the first nine months of his life in Iraq and used to make supply runs with the soldiers serving in the war. While the soldiers kept Hammer safe inside their body armor, Hammer kept the soldiers safe from the mice in the mess hall.(defense.gov)
Army dog handler Sergeant David Heyhoe and army explosives search dog Treo, from 104 Military Working Dogs, during a photocall in London to launch this years DFS Crufts 2010 dog show at Birmingham's NEC centre, running between the 11th and 14th of March. Picture date: Wednesday, March 3, 2010. Treo is one of several dogs nominated for the Friend For Life award at the show. The eight-year-old black Labrador has was also awarded with a Dickin Medal, the animal equivalent of a Victoria Cross, for sniffing out IEDs and saving the lives of the soldiers he was patrolling with while on duty in Afghanistan. Photo credit should read: Fiona Hanson/PA Wire
A dog from the 104 Military Working Dog Squadron, which is part of the 1st Military Working Dog Regiment, stands with soldiers during a presentation ceremony where the squadron received their Op Herrick campaign medals at St George's Barracks, North Luffenham, Oakham, Rutland. The soldiers have recently returned from their tour in Afghanistan. Picture date: Wednesday, April 6, 2011. See PA story DEFENCE Dogs. Photo credit should read: Rui Vieira/PA Wire
Onix, a Colombian military anti-explosives dog, and a soldier rest on a field at the military base in Popayan, Colombia, Saturday Nov. 5, 2011. Alfonso Cano, 63, the top leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC, was killed in a military raid in a remote area of the southwestern state of Cauca. The rebel leader's body was taken to a morgue in Popayan. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)
Charlotte Archer, 24, from Melton Mowbray with her black Labrador named Fire, at the dog kennels on Camp Bastion in Afghanistan. The kennels at Camp Bastion are equipped with a vet's surgery complete with operating theatre, as well as a pool for cooling and cleaning the dogs. Picture date: Thursday November 10, 2011. The highly-trained dogs are deployed out to forward operating bases and patrol bases. Tasks range from sniffing out improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to protection dogs - they are also used to check every vehicle that comes into Camp Bastion, searching up to 1,000 each month. See PA story DEFENCE Afghanistan Dogs. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
Treo, an eight-year-old Labrador from the Military Working Dogs, poses with his Dickin Medal, after it was presented by Princess Alexandra, unseen, at the Imperial War Museum in London, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2010. A perky British Labrador whose bomb-sniffing exploits helped save lives in Afghanistan was decorated for canine courage in a ceremony at London's Imperial War Museum Wednesday. Treo joins a menagerie of heroic animals honored over the years with a special award known as the Dickin medal, including 32 pigeons, three horses and a cat. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)
While the men of the "Yangtse Incident" have been receiving a heros' welcome home, Simon, the ships cat of HMS Amethyst and winner of the Dickin Medal - the animals Victoria Cross - has been resting at the Hackbridge Quarantine Kennels in Surrey. * Simon recieved the award for catching rats and protecting food supplies during the time the ship was trapped by the Chinese. THE PLUCKY PUSS WAS THE ONLY ONE OF HIS SPECIES TO RECEIVE THE DICKIN MEDAL- THE ANIMALS VC. 17/01/1949
n this May 20, 2011 photo, Chyba, a 12-year-old former military dog who served in Iraq with the Army, rolls over at the Rancho Coastal Humane Society in Encinitas, Calif. Madeleine Pickens, wife of billionaire T. Boone Pickens, adopted her dog, Chyba, last year. War dog organizations say the number of inquiries from people asking about military working canines has risen dramatically. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
The third PDSA Gold Medal was a posthumous award to Oi, a courageous Staffordshire bull terrier. When a gang armed with machetes forced their way into the family's London home in July 2008, Oi was there to confront the intruders. During the violent encounter, one family member was wounded and Oi received a crashing machete blow to the head, exposing her brain. Despite suffering horrific injuries, Oi's relentless efforts forced the gang to flee and the blood-soaked dog was rushed to Thamesmead PDSA PetAid hospital, The Freda Powell Centre, for emergency treatment. Oi died from cancer in March 2010.
Also receiving PDSA's Gold Medal was five-year-old Beagle, Frodo, who turned life-saver one night in June 2008 when fire swept through the family home in St Bees, Cumbria. Smoke alarms in the house were faulty, but Frodo sensed the danger and woke up his owner, Jenny Barwise. The heroic dog then led the way through dense smoke to where other members of the family were sleeping. Frodo was hailed a hero by Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service for his actions.
At just two-and-a-half-years-old, Police dog Anya was stabbed in the chest while defending her handler, PC Neil Sampson, from a knife-wielding attacker in January 2008. PC Sampson, was stabbed seven times during the attack. Despite her injuries, Anya continued to defend PC Sampson and his colleagues, so preventing further, potentially fatal, wounds. (PDSA)