50 Valiant Stories of People & Animals Who Were Awarded for Their Bravery

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26 George


In 2007, a 9-year-old Jack Russell Terrier named George sacrificed himself to save five children from an attack by two Pit Bulls. All three dogs had to be euthanized, but George was posthumously awarded a PDSA Gold Medal and his heroism was commemorated with a bronze statue.

27. In 2009, the home of 19-year-old Indian Kashmiri woman Rukhsana Kausar was invaded by 3 terrorists. Rakhsana disarmed two of them with an ax, killed the commander with his own rifle, and forced the others to flee. She was subsequently awarded India’s National Bravery Award and offered a police job.

28. During salvage efforts in Pearl Harbor, two Navy Divers became trapped when a piece of wreckage collapsed. By tunneling through 20 feet of mud and steel, Francis P Hammerberg, saved both men but became trapped himself in the wreckage. He died 18 hours later and was awarded the Medal of Honor.

29. In 2006, a Canadian mother named Lydia Angiyou, defended her 7-year-old son and his friends from a Polar Bear attack by single-handedly fighting off the bear until a hunter could arrive, demonstrating a rare example of life or death “hysterical strength.” She survived and later received the Medal of Bravery.

30. Adolf Hitler’s nephew William Patrick Hitler served in the US Navy in World War 2 and was awarded a Purple Heart. After attempting to benefit from his uncle’s rise to power in Germany, he turned against him and eventually settled in the USA.

31 Desmond Doss

Desmond Doss

Despite being a pacifist, Desmond Doss served as a combat medic in World War 2 and saved 75 people during the Battle of Okinawa without even carrying a gun. He was the only conscientious objector to be awarded the Medal of Honor for his service in the war.

32. In 1941, a Great Dane named Juliana saved her master’s home from burning down during the Blitz by urinating on a German incendiary bomb which had fallen through the roof. For this she was awarded the Blue Cross, which is similar to the Dickin Medal.

33. A dog that was named Judy spent a good part of World War 2 in a Japanese prison camp protecting prisoners from being beaten by taking the beating herself. Judy received the Dickin medal for her effort.

34. Karl Plagge was a Wehrmacht officer who used his position to try and save 1240 Jews in Lithuania from Nazi extermination. At his trial, he did not speak in his own defense because he blamed himself for not doing enough. In 2005 he was awarded “Righteous Among the Nations.”

35. The first Victoria Cross was awarded to a 20-year-old Ships Mate named Charles Davis Lucas, for picking up a live shell that landed on the deck and throwing it overboard. He was promoted on the spot, rose to the rank of Rear Admiral, and married the Captain’s daughter.

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36 Audie Murphy

Audie Murphy

During World War 2, Audie Murphy earned every US Army combat award for valor, and several French and Belgian awards for heroism. He earned the Medal of Honor at 19 for holding off a company of German soldiers for an hour, then leading a successful counter-attack while out of ammo and wounded.

37. During World War 2, a dog named Gander fended off two Japanese ambushes. When they came back again, with a grenade this time, Gander picked it up and charged back at them, killing more Japanese, saving his wounded team, going out in a blaze of glory and earning a Dickin Medal.

38. An African-American soldier named Vernon Baker received his belated Medal of Honor in 1997 for crawling to a Nazi outpost in Italy and taking out the 5 Germans in the outpost and then throwing a grenade and killing 2 more Germans and then rescuing a wounded American soldier.

39. Private First Class James Anderson Jr. sacrificed his life by smothering a grenade in Vietnam with his body on Feb. 28, 1967. He was 20. In doing so he became the first African American US Marine to be awarded the Medal of Honor.

40. An American Soldier named David Bleak was given the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Korean War. He killed 5 Chinese soldiers, 4 with his bare hands, while giving medical aid to his comrades despite being shot.

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41 Peter Lemon

Peter Lemon

Peter Lemon was a Canadian volunteer in the US Army, who won the Medal of Honor for actions performed while being stoned on marijuana in Vietnam.

42. During the Civil War, Dr. Mary Edwards Walker stood on the Union front lines for nearly two years, including the wake of the bloody Battle of Chickamauga. She is the only woman to receive the Medal of Honor.

43. US Navy SEAL Mike Thornton earned the Medal of Honor in Vietnam for saving the life of Thomas Norris, another SEAL, who would also later receive the Medal of Honor for a previous rescue mission, making it the first time in a century where a Medal of Honor recipient saved the life of another Medal of Honor recipient.

44. Herbert Pililaau was the first Native Hawaiin to be given the Medal of Honor. The day after he gave his life to save his comrades, they found his body surrounded by 40 dead Koreans, whom he killed using only his trench knife.

45. Union artillery officer Alonzo Cushing was killed after being wounded twice during the Battle of Gettysburg, refusing evacuation from his position atop Cemetery Ridge during Pickett’s Charge. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor 151 years later, the longest wait for any recipient.

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46 Humbert Roque Versace

Humbert Roque Versace

An American soldier named Humbert Roque Versace put up such a fight in captivity that the Viet Cong executed him out of frustration. He was last heard singing “God Bless America”. He was later awarded the Medal of Honor.

47. Submarine Commander Eugene Fluckey is credited with honor of the most tonnage sunk in World War 2, including a Carrier. He also once led his men on land to blow up a train. He got 4 Navy Crosses, the Medal of Honor, his boat got several Presidential Unit citations, but unfortunately none of his men got a Purple Heart.

48. Theodore Roosevelt Jr., the son of the famous president, was the only General to land in the first wave of the D-Day landings, despite having a heart condition that forced him to walk with a cane. He succumbed to a heart attack a month later and was awarded a posthumous Medal of Honor.

49. Flying Officer Lloyd Allan Trigg was a posthumous recipient of the Victoria Cross. His award is unique, as it was awarded on evidence solely provided by the enemy, for an action in which there were no surviving Allied witnesses to corroborate his gallantry.

50. William Harvey Carney was an African American soldier who fought during the American Civil War. Born as a slave, he was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1900 for his gallantry in saving the regimental colors (American flag) during the Battle of Fort Wagner in 1863.

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