During World War II, shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, a shepherd mix dog named Chips was donated to the war effort by his owner Edward J. Wren of Pleasantville, NY. At that time, many citizens donated their dogs for duty.
Chips was soon on the front lines in Africa, Italy, France, and Germany, acting as a tank guard dog. Several times he alerted his handler to an impending attack. At one point, he dragged a phone cable across a raging battlefield, so that his platoon could call for backup.
The one event for which Chips is best known happened on a beach in Sicily. When he and his handler’s unit came under fire from a hidden pillbox of Italian soldiers, Chips sprang from his handler and dove straight into the enemy emplacement. The soldiers inside came out moments later and surrendered, with Chips behind them. That would have been impressive enough, but later that night, he also alerted his squad to some approaching Italians, who were promptly captured as well.
Chips was the most decorated dog of World War II, receiving a Silver Star and a Purple Heart. However, the awards were rescinded later when the Commander of the Order of the Purple Heart complained that the awards were demeaning to human soldiers. This marked the end of the practice of awarding medals to military dogs, making Chips the last canine to be officially decorated.