Heroic dog that served in World War II receives posthumous medal

John Wren with military dog Ayron.
(Image credit: AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

More than 70 years after he saved U.S. troops by attacking an enemy soldier on a beach in Italy, Chips is being recognized for his courage during World War II.

On Monday, Chips, a German shepherd-husky mix, was posthumously awarded the Dickin Medal, Britain's highest honor for animal bravery. U.S. Army Lt. Col. Alan Throop flew to London for the ceremony, and so did 76-year-old John Wren, whose father donated Chips to the war effort in 1942. Chips landed on a beach in Sicily in 1943, and U.S. soldiers said he found a machine gun nest, bit the enemy soldier in the neck, and pulled the gun from its mount; later that day, he also helped capture 10 more enemy soldiers. Chips was injured, with powder burns and scalp wounds, but he survived.

Throop told The Associated Press that Chips was recommended to receive the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, and Purple Heart, but the awards were rescinded when Army policy kept animals from getting medals. Chips was honorably discharged and went back home to New York at the end of the war, but only lived seven more months. His obituary revealed that he served as sentry to President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill at the Casablanca Conference, and also met Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1945 — Chips was trained to bite people he didn't know, and when Eisenhower bent down to pet him, Chips chomped his hand.

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