Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A War Hero for Veterans Day

Stubby joined the 102nd Infantry by accident.
Sergeant Stubby
He was just a puppy when he wandered into Camp Yale in Connecticut and began to make friends with the soldiers who were training there.

He learned to recognize the bugle calls and do all the drills.

Private Robert J. Conroy adopted him. When the division shipped out, Pvt. Conroy smuggled Stubby aboard the S.S. Minnesota by hiding him under his overcoat. Stubby stayed hidden in the coal bin until the ship was well out at sea. He was again smuggled off the ship when they arrived in France.

Although dogs were forbidden in the camp, Stubby convinced the Commanding Officer to make an exception in his case. On seeing the officer, Stubby snapped to attention and saluted, raising his right paw smartly to his forehead.

On the battlefield, Stubby quickly proved his worth.

He visited the soldiers up and down the line, lifting their morale.

After being hospitalized for nerve gas exposure, Stubby became hypersensitive to its presence. If a gas attack was underway, Stubby could be counted on to warn his men, rousing them from sleep, racing between the trenches and barking the alarm. Calm under fire, he often located wounded comrades between the trenches and the enemy lines and would either lead them to safety or bark until the paramedics arrived to help them.

Stubby's crowning achievement was the capture of a German spy who was mapping the location of the Allied trenches. The German tried to run, but Stubby caught and held him until American soldiers could arrive to secure him. For that deed, Stubby was promoted to the rank of Sergeant, the first dog ever to receive rank in the U.S. Armed Forces.

He was later injured in the leg and chest by a grenade and was hospitalized. As soon as he was well enough to walk, he made the rounds of the hospital, boosting morale among the wounded.

Stubby got quite a few medals, including the Iron Cross that had belonged to the German Spy (That medal, unfortunately, was later lost.) After the town of Chateau Thierry was liberated, the townswomen made a chamois blanket for Stubby, on which his rank and his medals could be displayed.
Sgt. Stubby Wearing His Medals
By the end of the war, Stubby had taken part in 17 battles.
Stubby Receiving a Medal From General Pershing
Stubby's celebrity outlived the war. He is probably the only dog to have met 3 different Presidents, Wilson, Harding, and Coolidge.

He was given a lifetime membership in the American Legion, attending every Legion Convention and marching in every parade until his death.

He was also a lifetime member of the Red Cross and the Y.M.C.A, from whom he received a guaranteed income of 3 bones a day and a place to sleep.
Stubby's Brick at Liberty Memorial, Nation WWI Museum
He is honored at Liberty Memorial, the National World War I museum located in Kansas City, Missouri. Stubby himself (after some work by the taxidermist) can be found at the Smithsonian Institution in an exhibition entitled "The Price of Freedom: Americans at War."
Stubby at the Smithsonian