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Siwash, The Duck Who Fought with the Marines during World War II


(Photo: Lt. Col. Presley M. Rixey)

Siwash, a duck, was the mascot of the First Battalion of the Tenth Marine Regiment and later the entire Second Marine Division during World War II. He went ashore with the Marines at the Battle of Tarawa in 1943. There he was cited by fellow Marines for fighting a Japanese-owned rooster. The January 17, 1944 issue of Life magazine quotes the citation:

For courageous action and wounds received on Tarawa, in the Gilbert Islands, November 1943. With utter disregard for his own personal safety, Siwash, upon reaching the beach, without hesitation engaged the enemy in fierce combat, namely, one rooster of Japanese ancestry, and though wounded on the head by repeated pecks, he soon routed the opposition. He refused medical aid until all wounded members of his section had been care of.

The article notes that Siwash was skilled at the Marine sport of drinking beer. After the war, he lived on a farm before working as a Marine recruiter during the Korean War. He died in 1954 in Chicago of a liver affliction.

-via Weird Universe


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Siwash was referred to as "he" in the Marines, and then "she" in the obituary. It's sad that she had to hide her gender in order to serve.

Also, having a funeral service at a taxidermy shop was a nice touch.
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