At a ceremony in London, a dog named “Chips” was awarded posthumously with the PDSA Dickin Medal. The medal acknowledges the heroic activities that dog serve in the war.
The award is presented by a British group: the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals.
A good choice
Chips’ life began as a much-loved pet of the Wren family in Pleasantville, New York. A neighboring family offered the dog to the Wrens when he was a puppy.
John Wren, who was a young boy at the time, remembers his parents’ reaction to the small animal.
“The runt of the litter was this German Shepherd-husky mix thing. And they said to my mother, ‘Would you like him?’ And she said, ‘I’d love to have him.’ So, she took him, and she named him Chips. And he responded well, and he was smart and obeyed well.
And then the war effort came on, and they asked for canines, or dogs, to go into the K9 Corps. And they thought he was a perfect fit for it. Although they were sorry to have to do it, they knew it was the right thing to do. And they did it…”
Chips easily passed his military entrance tests. He then joined the Third Infantry Regiment of the Seventh U.S. Army and was sent to North Africa.
In January 1943, Chips helped to guard the Casablanca Conference in Morocco, where then-U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill met to plan the war.
The same year in July, Chips joined “Operation Husky,” the Allied invasion force landing on the Italian island of Sicily.
Lieutenant Colonel Alan Throop spoke at the award ceremony. He said that during the invasion, enemy forces shot at and attacked Chip’s team. Throop said the dog broke away and forced the surrender of the enemy to machine-gun team.
Chips’ handler described how the dog entered the machine gun shelter and came out with his jaws around the neck of a German soldier. Chips’ handler had to tell the dog to stop before the man was killed.
During the incident, Chips suffered burns and injuries but survived. He also saved the lives of the soldiers in his platoon.
Later, the army awarded Chips the Silver Star and nominated him for the Distinguished Service Cross. However, the medals were later withdrawn after criticism that they were not meant for animals.
Chips survived the war and returned to the United States. John Wren, who was four at the time, was there to welcome Chips when he arrived.
A hero, finally honored, More than 70 years later, Chips finally received an award for his actions.