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K-9 Congressional Medal of Honor Hoax

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Message claims that an attached photograph depicts Brutus, a military K9 that won the Congressional Medal of Honor for saving soldiers in Iraq.

Military Dog
© Hans Laubel

Brief Analysis

The claims in the message are untrue. The list of Medal of Honor recipients has no entry for a K9 soldier named 'Brutus'. And there are no records of a dog ever having been awarded the Medal of Honor.



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Subject: K-9

K-9 Congressional Medal of Honor

Thought you'd find this interesting. Talk about animal intelligence and bonding with humans!

K9 Medal Dog

The K9 above is Brutus, a military K9 at McChord. He's huge - part Boxer and part British Bull Mastiff and tops the scales at 200 lbs. His handler took the picture. Brutus is running toward me because he knows I have some Milk Bone treats, so he's slobbering away! I had to duck around a tree just before he got to me in case he couldn't stop, but he did. Brutus won the Congressional Medal of Honor last year from his tour in Iraq. His handler and four other soldiers were taken hostage by insurgents. Brutus and his handler communicate by sign language and he gave Brutus the signal that meant 'go away but come back and find me'. The Iraqis paid no attention to Brutus. He came back later and quietly tore the throat out of one guard at one door and another guard at another door. He then jumped against one of the doors repeatedly (the guys were being held in an old warehouse) until it opened. He went in and untied his handler and they all escaped. He's the first K9 to receive this honor. If he knows you're ok, he's a big old lug and wants to sit in your lap. Enjoys the company of cats.

Detailed Analysis

According to this message, Brutus, a military K9, was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for rescuing his handler and other soldiers who were taken hostage by insurgents in Iraq.

However, the claims in the message are untrue.

The list of Medal of Honor recipients has no entry for a K9 soldier named "Brutus". Two human soldiers have so far been awarded the Medal of Honor for service in Iraq but there is no mention of canine recipients. In reality, no dog has ever received the Medal of Honor.

Information about genuine Medal of Honor winners is always available from a number of media and military sources but there are no credible news or military reports of any kind that confirm the claims in the message. This lack of information about "Brutus" is a very strong indication that the story is a hoax. If true, the newsworthiness of the award itself along with the added novelty of a non-human recipient would have ensured that the story was widely publicized.

Thus, it seems clear that the message is no more than a foolish prank, perpetrators unknown.

While the claim that a dog was awarded the Medal of Honor is false, dogs have been awarded other kinds of medals for their work in wartime. In the UK, the Dickin Medal, often referred to as "the animals' Victoria Cross", has been awarded to animals who distinguished themselves during war since the 1940's.

The email refers to the medal as the "Congressional Medal of Honor". Although in common use, the name "Congressional Medal of Honor" is incorrect. The correct name for the medal is simply the "Medal of Honor".

Last updated: June 18, 2015
First published: 29th January 2008
Write-up by Brett M. Christensen
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