Cher Ami: died June 13, 1919
Cher Ami was a homing pigeon who served the United States army in France in 1918. One of her most extraordinary flights was at the battle of Argonne. Two homing pigeons had already been released by a battalion of the 77th Division in an effort to save themselves. The pigeons were shot down by the Germans who had the battalion surrounded. Cher Ami, the division's last pigeon, was released with the following note attached to her leg:
“We are along the road parallel to 276.4. Our own artillery is dropping a barrage directly on us. For heaven's sake stop it.”
Upon her release, Cher Ami was spotted by the Germains and open fired upon. Bullets rained all around her. She was hit and fell to the ground. She got up after a few seconds and flew on to her loft where the message was received. Cher Ami had been shot through the chest and lost an eye. One leg was dangling by a tendon. Army medics worked to patch her up. They could not save her leg. They carved a small wooden one to replace it. She was sent home for convalescence aboard the next boat. She died later of her injuries.
Cher Ami was credited with saving 194 American lives by delivering her message. She was stuffed and is on display at the Smithsonian. It was later discovered she was a hen, not a cock bird, as had been thought during her service in France.