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Veterans urge Trump to award Purple Heart to hero dog ‘Conan’ of Baghdadi raid

The military working dog who sustained minor injuries during the raid has returned to duty. (DoD/Released)
November 06, 2019

After the Pentagon said dogs cannot receive the medal, a Purple Heart recipient is offering up his to a heroic canine who was injured in the battle that killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

During a Monday appearance on Fox & Friends, Retired Lt. Col Daniel Gade has offered his own Purple Heart for the beloved canine, who will be visiting the White House for a ceremony next week.

“Look, these dogs are heroic. The president’s instincts are right and right on the Purple Heart medal it says, ‘The President of the United States,'” Gade said.

“If the Pentagon says that he can’t do it, guess what, he’s the president and I think he can and should do it,” he added.

Last week, President Donald Trump shared and acknowledged an obviously edited photo of Conan the dog receiving the Medal of Honor. Conan is reportedly named after comedian and talk show host Conan O’Brien.

Other veterans have also called on Trump to award the dog the medal, even though “military working dogs are not eligible for the Purple Heart,” Department of Defense spokeswoman Jessica Maxwell told the New York Post.

Another Purple Heart recipient, former Army Ranger Michael Bollinger, 26, said brave dogs like Conan are the reason many men and women in uniform are alive today.

“Do I believe Conan should receive a Purple Heart for actions on target? Absolutely,” he said. “They’re out there with us every step of the way.”

Bollinger received a Purple Heart in 2017 when he was severely injured with shrapnel in his legs after ISIS fighters used a drone to drop a grenade on him and other Rangers deployed in a still-classified location.

“I am still trying to recover from that,” said Bollinger, who is now studying computer science at Columbia University. “Learning to run again has been a challenge.”

The U.S. military has used service dogs for decades and the issue of military dogs receiving Purple Hearts has been a point of contention ever since one dog, Chips, received a Purple Heart, a Silver Star and the Distinguished Service Cross, for forcing the surrender of a German machine-gun nest in World War II.

William Thomas, who was serving as national commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart at the time, thought giving canines those medals was an insult to the sacrifices of soldiers, even writing his thought about it to President Franklin Roosevelt.

Despite the achievements and bravery of the service dogs, the military instated a rule barring them from receiving the Purple Heart.

Major General James Ulio allowed Chips to keep the medals in 1944, but ruled that no further awards would be given to service dogs going forward.