On January 15, 2018, 75 years after his greatest feat of heroism, U.S. Army dog Chips was finally honored, albeit posthumously, for singlehandedly attacking a hidden German gun nest during World War II.
At a ceremony sponsored by the UK’s leading veterinary charity PDSA, Chips was awarded the Dickin Medal, Great Britain’s most prestigious medal for animal bravery.
Deborah Hastings reports for Inside Edition that Chips, a German shepherd/collie/husky mix, undertook his most heroic deed in 1943 when he and his handler, Pvt. John Rowell, took part in the Allied pre-dawn invasion of Sicily. Chips broke free from Rowell on the beach and ran toward machine gun fire that was pinning down Allied soldiers. Chips attacked a hidden gun nest, biting German soldiers and pulling a smoking machine gun from its base.
According to Rowell’s account, Chips also helped capture 10 enemy soldiers. The dog grabbed one of the Germans by the neck and dragged him from the pill box. The other German soldiers followed with their hands up. Chips suffered burns and scalp wounds, but was otherwise fine.
Chips also served as a guard dog during a wartime conference between British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
At the Dickin Medal award ceremony, PDSA director general Jan McLoughlin said, “It has taken over seven decades, but Chips can now finally take his place in the history books as one of the most heroic dogs to serve with the U.S. Army.” Chips was awarded the Silver Star, a Distinguished Service Cross and a Purple Heart during the war, but the practice was suspended after controversy erupted over giving U.S. military service awards to animals.
Chips’ Dickin Medal was accepted by John Wren, 76, of New York, who was 4 years old when Chips returned home in a wooden crate, having been honorably discharged from the Army after three years of stellar service. Sadly, the hero dog died just seven months after returning home to Pleasantville, N.Y.
According to Chips’ obituary, Wren’s father had donated the dog to the U. S. military in 1942 because he had bitten a garbage collector.
Chips gained notoriety for other acts during WWII. In 1945, when Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower bent down to pet Chips to thank him for his bravery, the dog, having been trained to clamp down on strangers, bit the future president. LOL