|They Fought Too|
|Animals in Combat|
Cher Ami was a pigeon in the service of the United States Army Signal Corps during WWI. In 1918, the American 77th Infantry Division, under the command of Charles Whittlesey, was isolated and pinned down in France by German shelling. The Division was also endangered by well-intentioned American friendly fire. They had to alert allied forces to their position or face certain death.
They sent three of their four courier pigeons with urgent messages of distress and heard nothing further from them. To their last pigeon, Cher Ami, (which means "dear friend") they attached a final plea for help. The Germans saw Cher Ami as he rose from the American position and began firing on the bird. Cher Ami was hit twice in the breast and one of his legs was shattered, but the bird flew on.
Cher Ami flew 25 miles in less than 30 minuets and got the 77th Infantry Division's message back to allied forces. That bird saved the lives of the 77th Infantry Division's remaining 194 men. Cher Ami was awarded numerous medals for valor and became an international hero. The press celebrated him. The bird was escorted back to America by the commander of the U.S. Army, General Pershing. Cher Ami lived on for several years with bullet holes in his breast and only one leg. The pigeon that beat the odds was stuffed upon death and now stands defiantly in the Smithsonian Museum.
Cher Ami, how do you do!
Little scrawny blue and white
What about your poor left leg?
"The finest fun that came to me
'Mon Cher Ami-- that's my dear friend--
So with the message tied on tight;
Machine-gun bullets came like rain,
But on I flew, straight as a bee;
But, Cher Ami, upon my word,
"Oh, yes, the day we crossed the Meuse,
The bullets buzzed by like a bee,
But when I got back to the rear,
I only care for what they said,
The French and Mine said, 'Tres bien,'
You surely had a lucky call!
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