“The Mocker” – Signal Corps Feathered Hero of World War I.
During World War I, the Commander of the American Expeditionary Force, General John J. Pershing requested pigeon messaging be established in the American Army. The service first arrived in France in February 1918 and consisted of three officers, 118 enlisted men and a few hundred pigeons.
Several pigeon war heroes emerged. Among them was “The Mocker”, a red check pied cock splash banded AU-17-D-4084 with breeding unknown. While serving with the 77th Divison in the Alsace-Lorraine area his most outstanding performance was early in the morning of September 12, 1918 on the Beaumont front in the St. Mihiel sector.
German artillery was holding up the advance. A message of great importance sent from an observation point in Beaumont, carried by Mocker to Artesie, enabled the artillery to pin point the enemy guns, which gave the location of certain enemy heavy batteries. This information enabled the American Artillery to silence the enemy’s guns within twenty minutes. Thus enabling the troops to capture the town of Beaumont.
Mocker was wounded during his flight back, his left eye destroued by a shell splinter and losing part of his cranium, head a welter of clotted blood. Even though badly wounded, he gallantly reached his loft and delivered this vital message. He recovered from his wounds and continued doing some deserving work in de area of Argonne and St. Mihiel. He got wounded twice again but returned always to his loft behind the American lines.
Mocker was transported back to the U.S., settled in a new built loft made for him, together with a partner. He died June 15, 1935 at the age of twenty. He was the last WWI pigeon hero to die. He was awarded the “Distinguished Service Cross” and the French “Croix de Guerre”.
His body has been stuffed, mounted and put on display. He can be admired at the U.S. Army Ordnance Training and Heritage Center (Formerly known as the U.S. Army Ordnance Museum), a museum that has re-located to Fort Lee, outside Petersburg, Virginia. Its previous incarnation was the United States Army Ordnance Museum at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Aberdeen, Maryland which closed in September 2010.