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Proudly Salutes ...

War Birds:  Who's Who

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America's Favorite Pigeon Hero: G.I. Joe

G.I. Joe -- WWII

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G.I Joe is one of the most famous pigeons in history, most noted for saving a thousand American and Allied soldiers during WWII.

Click Here to Read Joe's Story

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Free World Decorated Pigeon War Heroes

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Cher Ami -- French Hero
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Commando
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Long John Silver 'Stumpy'
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Mary of Exeter
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Gimpy -- Son of Kaiser
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Kaiser -- German POW
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Mocker
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Paddy of Ireland
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Spike
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White Vision
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William of Orange
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Winkie
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Winged Warrior Captains:
Missions -- Accomplished

Deserving Heroes Were Decorated Officers and Buried with Full Military Honors

One of the most interesting aspects of the history of pigeons is their service in the military. During WWI the homing pigeons played a major role in communications -- often they were the ONLY means of communication available. The US and French military maintained and used homing pigeons up to and including the Vietnam War.

During both World Wars, pigeons were brave soldiers -- holding the rank of Captain. They were often released from behind enemy lines from airplanes and from ships far out to sea. Many a downed airman owes his life to a pigeon he let go as he set in a tiny rubber raft adrift on the ocean.

These birds were even used to rescue men lost at sea. In WWI, US forces took advantage of the pigeon’s excellent eyesight -- up to 10 miles, even in fog -- and rare ability to see and recognize different colors. Specially trained pigeons rode in the bellies of rescue planes, pecking a button upon spotting the orange survival vest of a downed pilot.

Pigeon soldiers were decorated and buried with military honors. The Dickin Medal was instituted in 1943 to honor the work of animals in war for their outstanding acts of bravery and devotion to duty. Recognized worldwide as the Animals’ Victoria Cross, the medal was awarded to 32 pigeons between 1943 and 1949 to acknowledge brave actions during WWII.

Here are just a few short histories of some famous war pigeons. These are amazing stories of pigeons fighting to return home no matter what the cost. Many pigeons were mortally wounded carrying life-saving messages across Asian jungles, vast deserts and the frozen Arctic tundra. These are stories of pigeon heroes that were shot at, caught in crossfire or hunted down by Hitler’s Platoon of Falcons. They lost eyes, feet, and other body parts -- continuing their missions, nonetheless.
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Highest Animal Honor -- The Dickin Medal


The Dickin Medal was instituted in 1943
by Maria Dickin to honor the work of animals
in war for their outstanding
acts of bravery and devotion to duty.


Recognized worldwide as the
Animals’ Victoria Cross, the medal
was awarded 54 times between 1943 and 1949
to acknowledge brave actions during WWII.
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The recipients were 32 pigeons, 18 dogs, three horses and a cat. It is a large bronze medallion, bearing the words “For Gallantry” and “We Also Serve” within a laurel wreath. It’s carried on ribbon of striped green, dark brown and pale blue. Traditionally the medal is presented by the Lord Mayor of the City of London.

Click the War Bird Names Below to Read Their Stories

All Alone
Beach Bomber
Billy
Broad Arrow
Burma Queen
Cher Ami
Cologne
Commando
Duke of Normandy

Dutch Coast
Flying Dutchman
GI Joe
George
Gimpy
Gustav
Julius Ceasar
Jungle Joe
Kenley Lass

Lady Astor
Long John Silver
Lord Adelaid
Marquis
Mary of Exeter
Mercury
Mocker
Navy Blue
Paddy

President Wilson
Princess
Royal Blue
Ruhr Express
Scotch Lass
Tommy
White Vision
William of Orange
Winkie

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"Uncle Sam Wants YOUR Birds"

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Topus Pioneered the Concept of Training War Pigeons With Love and Kindness

Richard Topus, WWII Pigeon Trainer

Click Here for the Story of the U.S. Army Pigeon Signal Corps

... and Will Pay You 5 Bucks A Pop for Your Homers

In January 1942, barely a month after Pearl Harbor, the United States War Department sounded a call to enlist. It wasn’t men they wanted — not this time.

The Army Signal Corps was looking for Racing Pigeon Recruits

To the thousands of American men and boys who raced homing pigeons, a popular sport in the early 20th century and afterward, the government’s message was clear:
Uncle Sam Wants Your Pigeons ...
... Oh, and Your Pigeon Handlers, Too

Richard Topus Answered
That Call to Duty.

So Began the Cold War Drama of
Pigeon Spies and Intelligence

The pigeon service continued to grow through the war. At its peak it mustered
150 officers, 3,000 enlisted men, and 54,000 pigeons.

Topus Spy Pigeons: Masters of Espionage

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Some pigeons ended up POWs—at least temporarily. In the winter of 1944, the operatically named Lucia di Lammermoor was carried to a forward position. Released with important information, she got delayed in flight.
That night she returned with a new message:
To the American Troops:
Herewith we return a pigeon to you. We have enough to eat. —The German Troops
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Captured Nazi POW -- Turned U.S. Patriot

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The most famous pigeon prisoner of war, Kaiser, a German bird captured during WWI was born in 1917 and captured in 1918 by American forcs in the battle of the Meuse.

He was used in the Signal Corp breeding program and sired over 100 children, during his long life. Kaiser died in 1949, at 33, making him not only the oldest recorded Pigeon on record, but also the only pigeon to have served in both world wars.

Kaiser's Story

Famous Prisoner of War Kaiser Sired Over 100 American Patriot Warrior Children

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