Leuk - posthumous PDSA Dickin Medal
French Navy Commando dog, Leuk, has been posthumously awarded the highest honour available for animals – the PDSA Dickin Medal – for his life-saving actions while on duty.
Belgian Malinois Leuk's courageous acts in the French Military earned him his prestigious Medal, making him the 73rd recipient since it was first awarded. Watch his incredible story:
Born on 20 September 2013, Leuk joined the K9 division of the French Special Forces Commando Kieffer unit in July 2015. He began working as a French Navy Commando attack and explosive detection Military Working Dog, and his exceptional skills quickly became clear. His specialty was to follow a drone in order to check for Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).
He was paired with his handler in May 2017 and their partnership lasted for the rest of Leuk’s operational career. In March 2019 they were deployed to Mali, where his actions undoubtedly saved the lives of his team on several occasions.
On a two-day mission in April 2019, in thick vegetation and with all other options exhausted, Leuk was deployed to flush out two nearby insurgents with automatic weapons. By this time the area around the enemy encampment was on fire, but Leuk ran through flames and bullets, attacking relentlessly for seven minutes, allowing his team to safely close in and neutralise the threat.
As the mission continued, Leuk was sent to another location where four enemies were positioned. He created a diversion by attacking one of them, enabling his team to succeed again. Towards the end of the operation Leuk was tracking IEDs, but he suddenly stopped and intercepted an armed insurgent, who had not been detected. Due to Leuk’s actions his team were quickly able to capture the enemy before anyone was harmed, and the operation was completed with no loss of life in the team.
Leuk’s final mission took place in May 2019 – he was killed by an enemy whose position he had single-handedly exposed. Sadly, just a week later on another mission, two team members lost their lives. This tragic loss reinforced for the team just how vital Leuk’s work was.
When Leuk was repatriated, his body was covered with the French flag. His human comrades formed a guard of honour – a tradition usually reserved for fallen soldiers – as a symbol of their respect and gratitude for his exceptional contribution on the battlefield.
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