A retired US Marine Corps dog, who protected the lives of allied troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, has been honoured with the PDSA Dickin Medal – the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross.
The 12-year-old German shepherd, who lost a leg while on duty, successfully completed over 400 separate missions during six years of active service. Her heroic actions were recognised by the UK’s leading veterinary charity, PDSA, at a ceremony at Wellington Barracks, London which was attended by Lucca and her owner, Gunnery Sergeant (GySgt) Christopher Willingham.
Lucca’s PDSA Dickin Medal was presented by the charity’s director general, Jan McLoughlin. Jan said: “Lucca’s conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty makes her a hugely deserving recipient of the PDSA Dickin Medal. Her ability and determination to seek out arms and explosives preserved human life amid some of the world’s fiercest military conflicts.
“I am thrilled that both Lucca and Gunnery Sergeant Willingham have made the journey to London to receive this very special award.”
Gunnery Sergeant Chris Willingham said: “Lucca is very intelligent, loyal and had an amazing drive for work as a search dog. She is the only reason I made it home to my family and I am fortunate to have served with her. In addition to her incredible detection capabilities, Lucca was instrumental in increasing moral for the troops we supported.”
For more information visit www.pdsa.org.uk