Hertz the dog wins PDSA medal for his help in Afghanistan
German short-haired pointer Hertz has been honored for his life-saving devotion to duty while deployed in 2013. He was the first dog in British military history trained to sniff out mobile phones, voice recorders, SIM cards and GPS devices. The PDSA Dickin Medal is the highest award a pooch can receive for serving in military conflict and is recognized worldwide as the animals’ Victoria Cross.
It was launched in 1943 by Maria Dickin CBE who founded the PDSA and acknowledges outstanding acts of bravery or devotion to duty by animals serving with the Armed Forces or Civil Defense units in any theater of war.
Bred in Croatia, Hertz joined the Royal Air Force Police as a one-year-old puppy after showing exceptional skills in drug detection.
His natural talent saw that he was selected as the first-ever Military Working Dog to be trained to detect the presence of Personal Electronic Devices (PEDs).
Trainer, Warrant Officer Jonathan Tanner from RAF Police, said: “For a military working dog that I have trained and handled to be recognized in this way is fantastic.
Hertz has been awarded a PDSA Dickin Medal for his life-saving work in Afghanistan.
Hertz with his former handler Warrant Officer Jonathan Tanner
“At no point during the training process or our operational deployment did I expect or even suspect that Hertz would be acknowledged on the global stage by the PDSA. I will forever look back at what we achieved with a massive smile on my face.”
During his service in Afghanistan, Hertz found more than 100 items of contraband, including drugs and electronic devices, which posed a significant threat to men, women and children.
I have secured and protected Camp Bastion against the threat of both intruder and insider attacks. These threats had previously claimed the lives of UK and US servicemen and women.
News of Hertz’ success spread fast, and he was deployed to locations throughout Helmand and Kabul
READ MORE ABOUT MEGHAN AND HARRY SHOOTING THEMSELVES IN THE FOOT IN STRUGGLE FOR POWER
Hertz at work in Afghanistan.
Hertz with his former handler Corporal Simon Dack.
Corporal Simon Dack from RAF Police, who also worked with Hertz, said: “As a team I would put Hertz into an area which I believed prohibited items were hidden and without fail he would find them.
“Hertz has an incredible drive to search – paired with a finely tuned nose – making him one of the most naturally gifted dogs I have had the privilege to work with.”
Many of the items Hertz found led directly to the gathering of intelligence about potential threats and attacks on British and Allied personnel.
According to the PDSA, Hertz’s impact was without parallel.
Dad on sick leave sacked as holding hose was ‘physical leave’ [REVEALED]
Armed police scrambled to ‘very serious machete attack’ [REPORT]
The Queen’s usual eating habits exposed [LATEST]
A timeline of the Afghanistan conflict
During the 13 months of Hertz’s tour, there was not a single rocket attack on Camp Bastion.
The PDSA said in a statement: “His work was vital to ensure the safety of all the personnel working there, both locals and military. It is difficult to truly estimate how many lives he saved through his actions.”
Hertz is the 74th recipient of the PDSA Dickin Medal, joining a prestigious line-up of brave dogs, pigeons, horses and a cat.
The large, bronze medallion bears the words “For Gallantry” and “We Also Serve” within a laurel wreath.
Hertz enjoys playing at the beach with his new owner Paul.
The ribbon is striped green, dark brown and sky blue representing water, earth and air to symbolize the naval, land and air forces.
During the Second World War, Ms Dickin was aware of the incredible bravery displayed by animals on active service and on the Home Front.
Inspired by the animals’ devotion to humankind and duty, she introduced a medal specifically for animals in war.
Since 1943, the medal has been awarded 73 times along with one Honorary PDSA Dickin Medal which was awarded in 2014.
In total, 36 dogs, 32 pigeons, four horses and one cat have received the honor.
It was awarded to war horse Warrior to honor all the animals that served in the First World War.
Their contribution to the Great War fell before the medal was established. The Honorary PDSA Dickin Medal is a unique award designed to recognize the role that all animals played at that time.
Hertz joins a prestigious line up of dogs to have been honored, including springer spaniel Buster awarded for outstanding gallantry in March 2003 when assigned to the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment in Safwan in southern Iraq.
The arms and explosives search dog located an arsenal of weapons and explosives hidden behind a false wall in a property linked to an extremist group.
Welsh Collie, Ricky, received the award in March 1947 after finding mines along the verges of a canal at Nederweent in Holland.
Ricky was wounded in the head but remained calm and kept working.
Of the 32 pigeons honored, GI Joe is credited with making the most outstanding flight by a USA army Pigeon in the Second World War.
It carried a message which arrived just in time to save the lives of at least 100 Allied soldiers from being bombed by their own plans. G.I. Joe received a Dickin Medal in August 1946.