Did you know a pigeon saved nearly 200 U.S. troops in World War I? In 1918, In the final weeks of the war, 194 American soldiers were trapped and were being attacked by advancing German troops as well as allies who mistook them for enemy forces. They had no way to get the word out that they needed help—except for three carrier pigeons they had with them.
They attached a message to one of the birds and let it loose. Enemy soldiers promptly shot it down (they probably carried shotguns loaded with birdshot for this very reason). The Americans released the second bird, and it was also shot. They had one pigeon left, a bird named Cher Ami. They attached a message and let the bird fly. Cher Ami was hit by several pellets, but he survived and was able to deliver the critical message. The soldiers were saved.
Cher Ami the pigeon was awarded the Croix de Guerre, which was an honor given to foreign troops by the French Army.
The photo below shows troops fastening a message to a pigeon in May of 1917.
- Carrier pigeon in WW1 - Castle, W.I. (William Ivor), official Canadian war photographer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
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