On June 6, 1961, G.I. Joe, a pigeon credited with saving the lives of 1,000 Allied soldiers during World War II, died of old age at the Detroit Zoo.
In October 1943, a note ordering that a raid by British planes, which would have unknowingly killed their own soldiers, be called off was successfully delivered on the leg of the bird after a 20-mile journey.
The pigeon later received a medal of gallantry from London’s mayor and recognition from the U.S. Congress before retiring to his home at the Detroit Zoo.
— Source: Mich-Again’s Day.
Also see Joe Razes, “Pigeons of War”, America In WWII : In fierce fighting and deep in enemy territory, American pigeons carried life-or-death messages that radio and field phones could not.