Dickin Medal awarded to US Marine Corps dog
Bass. a retired US Marine Corps dog, has been awarded the PDSA Dickin Medal.

The dog has been recognised for its bravery in Afghanistan.

Bass, a retired US Marine Corps dog, has today (24 January) been awarded the PDSA Dickin Medal for bravery and life-saving devotion to duty during his six-year service in the US Marine Special Operation Command. 

The Belgian Malinois was deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia, working in dangerous conflict zones to identify explosive devices, track the movements of target groups, and protect the team through controlled aggression.

The medal recognises his outstanding bravery on one mission in Afghanistan. On 20 May 2019, Bass supported troops conducting an air-borne night-time raid on a Taliban bomb-maker in Helmand Province. Despite an ongoing firefight, he searched through buildings and identified several Improved Explosive Devices. His actions resulted in lives being saved. 

Jan McLoughlin, director general of veterinary charity PDSA, presented the medal to Bass in a virtual ceremony. “Bass is a wonderful example of how vital animals are,” said McLoughlin, discussing the award. “His exceptional abilities and determination were apparent to all who served with him, and he was a clearly respected member of the team. I am proud to present him with the PDSA Dickin Medal.”

The PDSA Dickin Medal is widely recognised to be the Victoria Cross for animals. It was introduced in 1943 by PDSA founder Maria Dickin after being inspired by the heroism of animals in active service during the Second World War. The medal is awarded to acknowledge outstanding acts of bravery or devotion to duty shown by animals serving with the Armed Forces or Civil Defence units throughout the world.

Bass is the 75th recipient of the medal, which has been awarded to 38 dogs, 32 pigeons, four horses and one cat. The medal is inscribed with the words “For Gallantry” and “We Also Serve” and is attached to a ribbon striped green, dark brown, and sky blue, to symbolise naval, land and air forces.

Now retired from the Marine Corps, Boss lives in San Antonio, Texas, with his former handler, Staff Sergeant Alex Schnell. 

“It is truly one of my greatest honours to see Bass awarded the PDSA Dickin Medal,” said Schnell after the ceremony. “Bass is an incredible dog and I hope his story helps to demonstrate just how important animals are to our armed forces, and the key, sometimes life-saving, roles that they play. We are all incredibly proud that PDSA has recognised Bass in this way.”


Image (c) PDSA