Dogs have been a part of the U.S. military since World War II, but Lucca was the American first dog to be awarded this high British military honor.
As reported by ABC News, Lucca the German Shepherd is a retired U.S. Marine. She also recently received the PDSA Dickin Medal, the equivalent to the high military award for valor in the British military.
Lucca has completed 400 missions in six years with “allied troops in Afghanistan and Iraq,” and unfortunately lost one of her front legs in 2012 while searching for improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Afghanistan.
Gunnery Sergeant Christopher Willingham is her handler and only has excellent, heartwarming things to say about this incredible pup. He completed two deployments with Lucca by his side, also.
“She’s incredibly intelligent and loyal…I feel extremely fortunate,” he told ABC News in an interview that almost makes you choke up.
Within 10 days of losing her leg and undergoing emergency surgery, she was beginning to walk again, which is exceptional. She hasn’t changed at all since losing one of her front limbs and still has the same amazing personality.
Retired Major General Dean G. Sienko addressed Lucca at the event, telling her, “I know you don’t understand the words but I hope you sense the human warmth, gratitude, and pride that we all feel for your heroism and for a job extremely well done.”