"Cher Ami," WW I Carrier Pigeon
Hero of the skies
"Cher Ami" was one of about 600 birds donated by the pigeon fanciers of Britain for use by the U.S. Army Signal Corps in France during World War I. Trained by American pigeoneers, Cher Ami delivered 12 important messages within the American sector at Verdun. October 4, 1918, was his last-and most important-mission. That day he carried a message from Major Charles S. Whittlesey's "Lost Battalion" of the 77th Infantry Division, which had become isolated behind the German lines. When Cher Ami arrived back at division headquarters--25 miles to the rear--he was bloody and battered. His breastbone had been pierced by a bullet. One of his eyes was gone. And one of his legs was shot away. Clinging to the ligaments of the shattered leg, however, was the precious message, which brought about the relief of the 194 survivors of the battalion. Cher Ami was awarded the French "Croix de Guerre" Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster for his heroic service. He died at Fort Monmouth, NJ, on June 13, 1919, as a result of his wounds.
||Cher Ami was mounted by a taxidermist and donated to the Smithsonian.
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