Bass - PDSA Dickin Medal 75

Belgian Malinois Bass receives the PDSA Dickin Medal for his life-saving devotion to duty as a Multi-Purpose Canine in the US Marine Special Operation Command.

Bass’ life-saving actions during one particular deployment have earned him this prestigious Medal, making him the 75th recipient since the PDSA Dickin Medal was instituted in 1943. Watch his incredible story:

Bass' story

Multi-Purpose Canine (MPC), Bass, served with the US Marine Special Operation Command (MARSOC) alongside his handler, Staff Sergeant Alex Schnell for six years.

Bass was deployed four times during his service to three separate countries; Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia. As an MPC, Bass brought many capabilities to the teams he served with, including; detecting explosive materials, performing team protection through controlled aggression, and tracking the movements of a person or a group.

Bass demonstrated his gallantry on numerous occasions when deployed with MARSOC. He conducted over 350 explosive sweeps and 46 missions to capture high-value targets during his service.

Bass with his handler, Staff Sergeant Alex Schnell

On 20 May 2019, while deployed in Afghanistan, the US Marine Special Operation Team and MPC Bass conducted a night-time, air-borne raid to target a Taliban bomb-maker in Helmand Province.

As the team approached the target structure, hidden Taliban fighters unleashed a barrage of small arms fire and detonated an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). This initial enemy contact killed two Afghan partners working as part of the MARSOC team and suggested the presence of additional IEDs.

In order to avoid frontal assault against a barricaded enemy, the team began clearance of a building next to the enemy stronghold. To help them gain a safer vantage point and a place to take care of their casualties.

MPC Bass took the lead in the clearance and immediately identified an IED, located next to the doorway of the building that the team intended to clear.

After finding another entry to the building, MPC Bass continued to sweep the structure and identified four additional IEDs.

While in an active firefight with barricaded enemy fighters, these finds resulted in American and Afghan lives being saved as the team worked through the mine-laced area.

MPC Bass showed gallantry and proficiency in identifying explosive devices, aiding the success of the mission that evening. His actions undoubtedly prevented additional loss of life.

His life-saving actions as an MPC warrant the highest recognition and make him a deserving recipient of the PDSA Dickin Medal.

PDSA Dickin Award Winner Bass
A photo of Bass' PDSA Dickin Medal, bearing the inscription 'for life-saving devotion to duty'

Learn more about the PDSA Dickin Medal

The PDSA Animal Awards Programme helps to raise the status of animals in society by celebrating the incredible contribution they make to our lives. We believe, just as Maria Dickin did, that raising the status of animals in society helps improve the care they receive and their welfare.