As the Independence Day is round the corner, entire nation recalls the struggle and sacrifice made by thousands of freedom fighters. The golden list is always embossed with leaders like Gandhi, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Mangal Pandey, and many others, but often skips to pay tribute to the animals of Indian Army that have sacrificed their lives for Indian security.
Manasi, a four-year-old Labrador and a member of Army’s tracker dog unit, laid down her life to prevent an infiltration bid by terrorists in north Kashmir. Mansi and her handler Bashir Ahmed War, of the 160 Territorial Army, were gunned down by infiltrating terrorists in August 2015, when they were posted in the dense forests where terrorist from Pak-occupied-Kashmir made an infiltration bid in Tangdhar sector. Mansi’s body was recovered and after documentations and post-mortem, a wreath was laid on her body. The mortal remains of the valiant friend of the Army were laid to rest at her unit lines at Trehgam in north Kashmir.
A bay mare of Spanish breed, Pedongi joined the army in 1962. Pedongi braved bullets, airstrikes and battle trenches to prove her mettle as a brave and intelligent military mule. She was highly respected and valued for her many feats. In 1992, Pedongi was specially taken to Delhi where she was presented with a bravery citation and a blue velvet ceremonial rug at the 223 Corps Day Function. The brave animal made it to the Guinness Book of World Records as the ‘Longest-Serving Military Mule’ in 1997 before passing away peacefully in Bareilly on March 25, 1998.
On September 16, 1998, a young and naughty Labrador named Rudali, recovered an IED along the roadside in the Surankote area, saving many lives in the process. A great sniffer dog, Rudali has also been used to clear places like helipads, conference halls and routes to be taken by visiting dignitaries and VIPs.
This golden Labrador named Rex was posted to 14 Army Dog Unit under Delta Force, and assigned to help troops in trailing and tracking militants. In 1998, out on a patrol in the area of Gulgandhar, Rex picked up the scent of two dreaded militants and, hot on his trail, moved with speed and stealth for 2 km across the mountainous terrain. He traced the body of the militant in a hideout where he had succumbed to his injuries.
During another operation in Daraba near Rajouri, Rex suffered a fall and sustained serious intestinal injuries. He was evacuated to the nearest Army Veterinary Hospital where he finally succumbed to his injuries on September 22, 1999.
Thunderbolt is a valiant horse, part of the border guarding force Indo-Tibetan Border Police. Thunderbolt has worked for a number of years in providing ammunition and rations to high-altitude ITBP posts on the border under hazardous climate, blizzards and thin oxygen all year round.