Cher Ami – Happy 2017!

cher-ami-2017

Cher Ami (French for “dear friend”) was a homing pigeon who had been donated by the pigeon fanciers of Britain for use by the U.S. Army Signal Corps in France during World War I and had been trained by American pigeoneers. She helped save the Lost Battalion of the 77th Division in the Battle of the Argonne, October 1918. This would be Cher Ami’s last mission as she was badly injured – she was shot through the breast, blinded in one eye, covered in blood and her one leg was hanging on only by a tendon. The medics worked on her and managed to save her life. They even carved a small wooden leg for her as they could not save her damaged leg. She was then put on a boat to the U.S. France awarded her the Croix de Guerre Medal with a palm Oak Leaf Cluster for heroic service. (As a side note, Cher Ami was first thought to be a male or cock pigeon, and that’s why her name is in the masculine French form. Upon further examination during taxidermy, she was found to be a hen.)

“Cher Ami” 12×12 gouache and pencils 1/17

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