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Pigeon Saved Lives of Nearly 200 American Soldiers!

American Soldiers Saved by Heroic Pigeon
American Soldiers Saved by Heroic Pigeon. Image by @AnimalWised via YouTube

On October 4th, 1918, the story of an unlikely hero came to be. A small male homing pigeon became a champion of the first World War when American soldiers sent it on a dangerous mission to relay a rescue message. The pigeon’s name was Cher Ami, and his story is one of courage, heroism, and bravery. 

Cher Ami

Pigeon Heroically Saves American Soldiers
Pigeon Heroically Saves American Soldiers. Image by @AnimalWised via YouTube

The story of Cher Ami is one of the most remarkable stories of World War I. It has been retold numerous times over the decades and will continue to be passed on to the coming generations. However, to truly grasp the extent of Cher Ami’s heroics, you’ll need some backstory. Let’s take a look!

The Battle of the Argonne Forest 

WW1

The story of Cher Ami begins in 1918 during the Battle of the Argonne Forest in France. This battle was part of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, one of the final Allied offensives of World War I. The goal of the offensive was to push the German forces back and break their lines.

Soldiers of the 77th Infantry Division were heavily outnumbered. They were without radio communication and the terrain of the Argonne Forest was extremely challenging to navigate. Nevertheless, the American forces managed to break through the German lines. However, afterwards they found themselves trapped and isolated in the Argonne Forest.  

Heroic Delivery

The Pigeon That Saved American Soldiers
The Pigeon That Saved American Soldiers. Image by @AnimalWised via YouTube

Against all odds, Cher Ami reached the headquarters. The message was received, and the trapped soldiers were saved.

Wounded but Brave

Pigeon’s Brave Act Saves American Troops
Pigeon’s Brave Act Saves American Troops. Image by @AnimalWised via YouTube

Cher Ami had been shot through the chest and lost a leg, but survived the journey. The pigeon became a symbol of courage and resilience.

Recognition and Honor

Courageous Pigeon Saves U.S. Soldiers
Courageous Pigeon Saves U.S. Soldiers. Image by @AnimalWised via YouTube

For the brave act, Cher Ami was awarded the French Croix de Guerre, a medal for heroic service in battle.

Remembering Cher Ami

Pigeon’s Valor Rescues American Troops
Pigeon’s Valor Rescues American Troops. Image by @AnimalWised via YouTube

Cher Ami’s story is remembered as one of the greatest tales of animal bravery in history. The pigeon is a symbol of hope and perseverance.

The Rescue Mission of Cher Ami

How a Pigeon Became a Soldiers’ Saviour
How a Pigeon Became a Soldiers’ Saviour. Image by @AnimalWised via YouTube

 

How Was Cher Ami Trained?

Brave Pigeon Saves Lives of U.S. Soldiers
Brave Pigeon Saves Lives of U.S. Soldiers. Image by @AnimalWised via YouTube

Cher Ami was trained to carry messages over long distances. The pigeons were essential during war when radio communications were not reliable.

Why Use Pigeons?

Pigeon’s Daring Feat Saves Soldiers’ Lives
Pigeon’s Daring Feat Saves Soldiers’ Lives. Image by @AnimalWised via YouTube

Pigeons were used because they could fly over enemy lines and deliver messages quickly. They were small, fast, and hard to shoot down.

What Was the Message?

How a Pigeon Saved U.S. Soldiers’ Lives
How a Pigeon Saved U.S. Soldiers’ Lives. Image by @AnimalWised via YouTube

The message Cher Ami carried was a desperate plea for help from trapped soldiers, detailing their location and situation.

How Many Lives Were Saved?

Life-Saving Pigeon’s Brave Mission
Life-Saving Pigeon’s Brave Mission. Image by @AnimalWised via YouTube

Cher Ami’s message helped save nearly 200 American soldiers who were surrounded by enemy forces.

Where Is Cher Ami Now?

American Soldiers Saved by Heroic Pigeon
American Soldiers Saved by Heroic Pigeon. Image by @AnimalWised via YouTube

Cher Ami’s preserved body is on display at the Smithsonian Institution as a tribute to the bird’s bravery.

What Made Cher Ami Special?

Heroic Pigeon Rescues American Troops
Heroic Pigeon Rescues American Troops. Image by @AnimalWised via YouTube

Cher Ami’s determination and resilience under fire made the pigeon stand out. Despite severe injuries, the bird completed the mission.

Are There Other Hero Pigeons?

Two Pigeons standing on a ledge. Image by Tim Mossholder on Pexels

Yes, many pigeons were used during wartime, but Cher Ami’s story is one of the most famous due to the dramatic rescue.

How Did Cher Ami Get Injured?

pigeon wears bread
Pigeons sitting on a curb. Image by Wu Zmomoe on Unsplash.

Cher Ami was shot through the chest and had a leg nearly severed by enemy fire but still managed to deliver the crucial message.

What Can We Learn From Cher Ami?

Pigeon flying in the sky. Photo by Julian Hochgesang on Unsplash

Cher Ami’s story teaches us about the importance of bravery, persistence, and the bond between humans and animals.

Why Is Cher Ami a Symbol?

Carrier Pigeons
From: Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, No. 275, April, 1873.

Cher Ami symbolizes the extraordinary contributions and sacrifices animals can make, reminding us of their vital roles in our lives.

How Cher Ami Saved the American Soldiers 

YouTube video

The Aftermath of the Mission and Cher Ami’s Legacy

After the mission, the Allied Army awarded Cher Ami the French Croix de Guerre, one of the highest honors given to animals during World War I. The pigeon also received the Chevalier of the Legion of Honour, the highest honor given to animals in France.

American soldiers also gave Cher Ami a special medal. The medal had an inscription with the words “For Gallantry in Action,” which was a fitting tribute to the heroic pigeon.

Conclusion

In the aftermath of the war, medics carved a wooden leg to replace Cher Ami’s blown-off leg, and he lived another seven months before passing on. He died at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, on June 13th, 1919. After his death, the United States Army preserved his body by taxidermy, and he has been on display at the National Museum of American History since 1921. Here, he is on display alongside another notable animal war hero, Sergeant Stubby.

Cher Ami’s story has become integral to World War I history. In the early years after the war, soldiers echoed his story, and he became an iconic symbol of bravery and courage even among young school children.

Cher Ami’s story is an example of the power of animals. The pigeon’s heroic actions are a testament to what animals can accomplish, and his story is an inspiring reminder that animals can be heroes too. His heroic actions will always be remembered, and his legacy will live on for generations to come.

Thank you for reading this article! To find out more about members of the bird species take a look at our piece about the Emperor Penguin.

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