From Staff Reports
American Legion Post 560, located at 3720 Alba Rd. in Garden Oaks, needed a name for its new carrier pigeon mascot, which will be delivering the organization’s monthly newsletter.
To involve the community in the process, the Legion held a creative writing contest in conjunction with The Leader. Entries included both the name of the pigeon and a 500-word biography about the fictional bird. The winner, selected by Post 560 and The Leader, was announced Sept. 16.
With her story “Midge the Pidge,” Nancy T. Pulido won first place in the contest.
The top five finalists were also awarded with a certificate, including August Galiano for his story “Charlie, The Famed Pigeon of WWII,” Mary Martha for “Here Comes Private Walter Pigeon,” Josue Matamoros for “Amelia Austen – A Hero To All,” Susan Mays for “Percival McDougal Ferguson, D.C.” and Ed Murrell for “Wild Blue Yonder.”
MIDGE THE PIDGE
By Nancy T. Pulido
It is with great pleasure that American Legion Post 560 announces our choice as mascot for our Newsletter — a carrier pigeon who served in World War II, affectionately known as Midge the Pidge.
She was beloved by her fellow carrier pigeons as well as by the soldiers with whom she served, and was chosen because of her outstanding record while serving with the military during WWII. She distinguished herself by flying many missions, carrying vital information through difficult circumstances, thus saving the lives of countless brave, dedicated soldiers. One such heroic mission, well, let’s let her tell us in her own words:
“I was comfortably ensconced in my travel cage aboard the plane on a bomber mission, when suddenly there was a jolt and the door of the cage was violently torn open and I was ejected into the air. I knew that meant my mission was beginning and I was to fly fast and furiously toward my home base.
“But I was confused. No one had put a message in the special container on my leg. So why was I sent flying, I wondered. Well, whatever the reason, I knew I must do what I was trained to do. I flew as fast as I could toward home base, dodging bullets, flying through smoke and high winds, lightning and thunder. Then the torrents of rain followed, making the going even tougher.
“When I finally reached my destination 120 miles later, totally exhausted and still confused, I heard the men who greeted me talking excitedly all at once as they, too, realized there was no message. I learned later that the men then calculated the distance I had flown from my ID information and, along with other clues given by the debris stuck to my feathers, were able to make complicated calculations in order to locate the bomber crew who were in desperate need of rescuing. Within 15 minutes, these men were miraculously saved. I had been sent as a last-ditch S.O.S. message.”
Midge was one of 32 carrier pigeons to be awarded the coveted Dickin Medal for “conspicuous gallantry or devotion to duty while serving in military conflict.” She comes from a long line of heroic carrier pigeons, going all the way back to the Roman conquest of Gaul and the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo. After serving in WWI and WWII, the use of carrier pigeons was discontinued in 1957.
However, stories still abound of their brave and adventurous missions. Midge the Pidge was especially beloved by her fellow pigeons because of her cheerful demeanor which was known to keep their spirits up during dangerous times and dreadful circumstances. She encouraged sharing of stories and shared hers. One of her well-kept secrets, though, and one which others tried to get her to reveal, was – what is ‘Midge” short for?