We're not lost, Sergeant, We're in … France

Most decorated war dog of WWI

You know I love my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Henry, so I have a soft spot for all the military working dogs out there. On LinkedIn, Brian Melanson posted a link to an article on the Defense Media Network about Sergeant Stubby, a hero of World War I. Stubby wandered onto the parade field at Yale University as the 102nd Infantry Regiment was training, and marched right along with them. PVT J. Robert Conroy smuggled Stubby onto their troopship, the SS Minnesota (which might be this SS Minnesota). Though his commanding officer was initially upset, a salute by Stubby earned him an official role as mascot.

Stubby’s baptism of fire occurred in February 1918, shortly after the division was stationed in the Chemin des Dames sector in northern France. Within days after the troops took up position in the trenches, they were hit by a poison gas artillery barrage. Stubby survived, and from that point on was acutely sensitive to the deadly chemicals. Once, the area where Stubby’s company was deployed received a pre-dawn poison gas barrage. As soon as his nose scented the first whiff of poison gas, Stubby began raising the alarm, running back and forth through the trench, barking and nipping at the slumbering soldiers. The men awoke in time to don their mask (and fit Stubby with his), and fight off the German attack.

After the war, Stubby went to Georgetown with Conroy, becoming the Hoya’s mascot. He was honored in parades, awarded medals by Generals and greeted by Presidents, receiving the honors that veterans rightly deserve. Stubby passed away in 1926, having served his country and his comrades well.

SGT Stubby is on display at the Smithsonian in the Price of Freedom: Americans at War exhibit and is apparently honored at the National WWI Museum at Liberty Memorial in Kansas City with a brick in the Walk of Honor. If you visit the Memorial and can send along a photo of his brick, I’d greatly appreciate it!

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