What a hero! Congratulations to Bass, the brave army dog who discovered five IED explosives during a mission against the Taliban, saving numerous lives. He has been awarded the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross.
The UK charity established the prize in 1943 when its founder, Maria Dickin, became aware of the number of lives—primarily those of dogs and carrier pigeons—that were saved by animals during the war.
Bass served in the US Marine Special Operation Command for six years, completing 46 operations in Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq that included more than 350 explosive sweeps.
Before being saved, Kaavan, the “world’s loneliest elephant,” was kept in a wretched, barren half-acre of land at the Marghazar Zoo in Islamabad, Pakistan, and forced to perform for onlookers.
Bass, who is now 10 years old (or 53 in human years), is retired and resides in San Antonio, Texas, with his former handler, Staff Sergeant Alex Schnell.
Bass received commendation from PDSA director general Jan McLoughlin for his commitment to service.
“Bass exhibited exceptional heroism and commitment to duty in assisting the success of his team’s mission that evening in 2019; his actions unquestionably avoided a greater loss of life,” the statement from the speaker said.
Bass is a deserved recipient of the PDSA Dickin Medal for his life-saving efforts that evening.
Animals play a particularly special role in our lives, whether they are household pets or working dogs like Bass.
Every day in our pet hospitals, our veterinarians and veterinary nurses witness and defend the extraordinary bond that exists between pets and their owners. As a result, PDSA is continuing the mission of our founder, Maria Dickin, to ensure that no pet suffers because of their owner’s financial situation and to honor the extraordinary role that pets play in our society.
Bass is a fantastic illustration of how important creatures are. Everyone who served alongside him could see his extraordinary skills and tenacity, and he was unquestionably a valued member of the team. I’m honored to award him the PDSA Dickin Medal.
“Seeing Bass receive the PDSA Dickin Medal is truly one of my greatest honors,” stated Mr. Schnell.
Bass is a remarkable dog, and I hope that sharing his story will highlight how crucial animals are to our armed forces and the vital, even life-saving, duties they serve.
We are all so happy that Bass has received such recognition from PDSA.
“Bass and Alex made a great team and were among the top 5% of Marines I had the honor of serving with,” said Mr. Willingham, who recommended Bass.
In Helmand Province, during a nighttime raid in May 2019, enemy soldiers opened fire and detonated an IED in an attempt to capture a Taliban bomb-maker.
Bass continued to search the building and discovered four more IEDs after finding another entrance.
The PDSA Dickin Medal is a sizable bronze medallion carrying the words “For Gallantry” and “We Also Serve,” all within a laurel wreath.
75 times, the Medal has been given to 38 dogs, 32 pigeons, 4 horses, and 1 cat.