Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorializing "Sergeant Stubby," Our First K-9 Hero

The military authorities refuse to acknowledge what is obvious, and important: that the USA's foremost example of canine valor, loyalty, and honor is a pit-bull.

Remembering "Sergeant" Stubby: A Remarkable Canine Hero
By Jo Singer | May 31, 2010 10:00 AM

Once known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day commemorates the men and women who died while serving our country. This special holiday was originally enacted to honor the Union soldiers of the Civil War, and is celebrated on the last Monday in May, close to the day of the country's reunification after the war.

While the name "Memorial Day" was first used in 1882, it became more common after World War II. Finally in 1967 the name was declared official by Federal Law.

While this is a day to honor fallen soldiers from every branch of the military, many people who work with and train the canines that bravely go in partnership into battle set aside this day to remember and honor them as well.

The United States Armed Forces have been using Military Working Dogs since World War I. Volunteer handlers train them to be trackers, sentry dogs, scouts, and detectors of mines, traps, tunnels, water, and hostile forces. They were used in WW l, WW ll, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, Bosnia, Kosovo and are on active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

An extremely close and trusting relationship develops between soldiers and their dogs, as exemplified by the story about "Sergeant" Stubby, one of the most remarkable military dogs in history.

A dog of an unknown breed, in 1917 he was discovered on the Yale campus by John Robert Conroy. While some thought Stubby was part Boston Terrier and part Pit Bull, others assumed he was a pure bred Olde Boston Bulldog. Smuggled aboard the transport SS Minnesota, Stubby served with the 102nd Infantry 26th (Yankee) Division alongside Conroy in the trenches in France for 18 months.

During a raid to take Schieprey, in April 1918 this brave little dog was wounded by a hand grenade that had been thrown by retreating Germans. While recuperating, his mission was to cheer up wounded soldiers, improving their morale. After recovery he returned to battle in the trenches.

The fierce and talented pooch learned to warn his unit of poison gas attacks after he was gassed himself. He found missing soldiers, and due to his acute hearing, he detected the whining of incoming military shells before any humans could. They were able to take shelter quickly as Stubby became very adept at warning them.

At the end of the war, Conroy smuggled Stubby back home. He died in Conroy's arms in 1926. Stubby's remains are kept at the Smithsonian in the Price of Freedom: Americans at War exhibit and he has was given a brick of honor in the Walk of Honor at the United States World War l monument, Liberty Memorial in Kansas City during a ceremony held November 11, 2006--Armistice Day.

In honor of the many military canines, take a moment to watch this touching video uploaded to YouTube by kakashiisdabomb.

Here's another site, commemorating the exploits of a couple more "war dogs," including one Yorkshire terrier.

1 comment:

  1. Woody, thanks for memorializing Stubby and other canine heroes. Wonderful post.