A Special Forces Dog Received the Dickin Medal for Saving Troops Lives (Video)

A Belgian Malinois, Mali, received the Dickin Medal for saving the lives of Special Boats Service troops during the 2012 operation.

The Dickin medal was described by the PDSA charity that awards it as the animal equivalent of Victoria Cross, the highest honor in the UK for gallantry.

Cpl Daniel Hatley, who trained Mali when the dog was a puppy, said: "I am very proud of Mali, the way he led himself when it mattered most enabled my colleagues to achieve success in close combat.”
Mali’s Special Forces handler, Mali, who could not be named for security reasons, was also awarded a gallantry medal for its role in the operation.

During its deployment in the Special Boat Service, Mali was given the credited with giving the British troops the upper hand in a near eight-hour operation to remove a heavily armed Taliban forces with weapons from a multi-story building.

Mali was wounded by three explosions of grenades but still managed to locate the enemy fighters. This gave the British troops time to respond in close-quarters combat.

The dog was sent directly through the fire twice and was hoisted up the outside of the building several times to provide the assault force with a foothold. The first two explosions, which hit Mali, damaged his chest, front and rear legs.

Another detonated close to his face, causing the loss of his front tooth and damages his ear. But Mali kept pushing forward and stayed close to his handler.

The PDSA described the dog as an "incredibly worthy recipient" of the medal. "Being awarded the PDSA Dicken medal recognizes Mali's vital role in the force that day," said Hatley.

Colonel Abby DuBaree, of the Royal Royal Army Corps (RAVC to which Mali is attached, said the award was "“extremely well deserved”, and added that stories like Mali were "amazing to read and help demonstrate the key role that animals continue to play in our armed forces. "

Brig Roly Walker, the colonel commandant of the RAVC, said:“As long as we’ve had soldiers, we’ve had animals, and I think we always will have them.”  The award was the recognition of "these unique bond," he added.
Maria Dickin, the PDSA’s founder introduced the medal in 1943. It is the highest award any animal can reach during his service in the military conflict. The medal is a large bronze medallion, with the phrases “For Gallantry” and "we also serve" within a laurel wreath.

The striped ribbon is green, dark brown and sky blue, representing water, earth, and air to symbolize the naval, land and air forces.

Mali is the 69th recipient of the medal and the 32 dogs to win. The prize was also awarded to the 32 seconds World War Messenger pigeons, four horses, and one cat.

The Director-General of charities Jean McLaughlin "said Mali has shown a remarkable capacity really determined to look for explosives and insurgents during the major operation.

"To accomplish this even as being exposed to close combat and such intense enemy attack makes him an incredibly worthy recipient of the PDSA Dickin medal.”

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