UPDATE 2022: Pronouns in this post have been changed to reflect new research which proves that Cher Ami was a male pigeon. “The wartime records of the U.S. Army’s Signal Corps recorded Cher Ami as a hen, or “she.” For a century the Smithsonian, however, has always labeled Cher Ami as a cock bird, or “he.” Through modern DNA analysis, the century-old mystery of the famed pigeon’s sex has recently been determined by a team of curators and scientists. This question has now been definitively answered: the Smithsonian has conclusively identified Cher Ami as male.” https://americanhistory.si.edu/blog/cher-ami
On this date in 1919, Cher Ami, a carrier pigeon and recipient of the Croix de Guerre Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster for Heroic Service in World War I, passed away in Fort Monmouth, NJ as a result of wounds suffered in war. A pigeon of the Lost Battalion suffering both enemy and friendly fire, he was the only pigeon to avoid death long enough to deliver a message to Allied Forces to save the remaining members of the Lost Battalion. He was severely wounded, and eventually lost a leg. Members of the Battalion made him a wooden one. He is now stuffed and in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution. This was discovered in one of the Steele Memorial Library’s copies of “History and Rhymes of the Lost Battalion,” now in our reference collection, the book was given to members of Elmira’s American Legion Post, so we wouldn’t forget the sacrifices of the Lost Battalion. In the end, 197 men were killed, 150 captured or missing, and 194 were rescued.