This Pigeon Saved 194 American Soldiers Delivered A Life-saving Message While Being Shot In The Chest!

This Pigeon Saved 194 American Soldiers | Delivered A Life-saving Message While Being Shot In The Chest!

In the history of wartime heroes, one figure stands out not for the power of their weapon, but for the strength of their wings. This hero is a homing pigeon named ‘Cher Ami.’ His incredible trip carried an important message that saved 194 American soldiers during World War I. Cher Ami’s note was an American troop’s final cry for help from the battlefield. During his flight, he was even shot through the chest! However, Cher Ami continued to carry the task with severe wounds. 

This unsung hero has successfully completed more than 12 missions during the war. Let’s dive in to know the full story of his bravery and survival. 

Cher Ami: “Dear Friend”

Cher Ami, suggests “dear friend” in French. Born in 1918, he was one of the 600 Army Signal Corps pigeons given to France. They were sent with the hope of helping in communication on the battleground. 

Homing pigeons were highly considered for their ability to find their way home. They can hear low-frequency sounds and can create a sound map of their own. Considering this remarkable skill, Pigeon Corps was established in World War I. 

Telephones and radios were new technologies at the time but were hardly available and useful in the field. Pigeons were the only reliable source they could find to communicate. Short notes carrying the most important messages were put in a tiny canister and tied to the pigeon’s leg. The pigeons would then take them to their final destination, even when it’s raining with bullets. 

Cher Ami
Image source: Chemung County Library District / Goodreads

Shot Through The Chest But Gave His All!

Cher Ami faced the most dangerous mission of his time in 1918 during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. He was placed with the 77th Division, also known as the “Lost Battalion.” This troop with 550 men was separated from the other American troops and was under heavy bombing. The battalion had no way in or out of the German lines. Homing pigeons were the only option they had in communicating with the rest. 

Almost all of the pigeons were shot down by the German troops. But Cher Ami remained becoming the only hope of 194 men. American Maj. Charles Whittlesey along with his men tied a note to Cher Ami’s leg as he is the last chance of their survival. He wrote, “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.” 

Cher Ami started her flight and dodged as many German bullets as possible. However, one got him. He was shot through the chest and dropped to the ground. To everyone’s shock, he rose to the sky again and delivered the note. Cher Ami flew at a record speed and completed a 25-mile journey in less than 30 minutes. 

By the time he reached the American Base, he was alive but badly hurt. Army medical teams saved him, but he had already lost his right leg and was blinded permanently. All thanks to Cher Ami’s courageous trip, 194 men on the Lost Battalion were saved. 

Cher Ami
Image source: Goodreads (On the left Captain John Carney, the trainer of Cher Ami holding him / On the right Maj. Charles Whittlesey in Uniform)

Cher Ami’s Legacy and Recognition

Cher Ami’s incredible act of bravery did not go unrecognized. Awarded the Croix de Guerre by the French government and honored by General John Pershing, he became a symbol of courage and determination. His story challenges us to rethink our war heroes. Bravery comes in many forms, not all of them are human.

Cher Ami
Image source: Feather Weight Heroes / All that’s interesting

Cher Ami’s Final Resting Place

After the war, Cher Ami returned to the United States. He lived his days under the care of Capt. John Carney until her death in 1919 from war wounds. He is now well preserved and displayed at the Smithsonian Institution. 

A recent DNA test even settled a century-old mystery, confirming Cher Ami as a male pigeon, yet his spirit remains unchanged. He was a tireless messenger of hope.

Image source: / Smithsonian Magazine


Cher Ami’s story transcends the boundaries of species, reminding us of the profound impacts animals can have on human conflicts. As we delve into the mysteries and wonders of the natural world, let us not forget the tales of courage and sacrifice that lie in the most unexpected of heroes. Cher Ami’s legacy serves as a testament to the enduring spirit of survival and the significant, albeit peculiar, role animals have played in shaping our history.

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