Friday, May 16, 2008

What a dog!

Sergeant Stubby, a Bull Terrier mix, is the single most decorated dog in U.S. history. He was picked up as a stray in 1917, by Private J. Robert Conroy when the homeless dog appeared at the training camp of the 102nd Infantry at Yale University. Conroy and buddies kept Stubby with them through all their drills and training and, in July 1917, when it came time to ship out for France, they smuggled Stubby aboard ship. Within weeks of their arrival in the European theatre, the 102nd was under fire on the front lines in France. The boom of artillery fire didn't faze Stubby in the least, and the men learned of incoming bombs by watching him. Stubby could hear the whine of shells long before the men. For 18 months Stubby carried messages under fire, stood sentry duty, and helped paramedics find the wounded in “no man’s land”. He gave early warning of deadly gas attacks and was credited many times with saving his entire regiment. When Stubby found and helped capture a German spy who was mapping a layout of the Allied trenches, he was awarded the honorary rank of Sergeant - the first dog to be given rank in the U.S. Armed Forces. When seriously wounded by shrapnel, he was sent to the Red Cross hospital for surgery just like any other soldier. Once recovered, Stubby returned to his regiment and continued to serve until November 11, 1918, the day the war ended. Named a life member of the Red Cross and the American Legion, Stubby was awarded many medals including one by General John J. Pershing. Called to the White House several times to meet Presidents Harding and Coolidge, he led more regimental parades than any other dog in history. Stubby spent his final years with John Conroy, the soldier who had rescued him so many years ago. He died of old age in 1926. Stubby's remains were preserved with technical assistance from the Smithsonian Institution. Stubby, his medals and personal effects were donated to the Smithsonian by Conroy and can still be seen there.

1 comment:

Ellie Finlay said...

Very, very inspiring.