Finnymae pays tribute to our furry fallen heroes on Remembrance Day. Sergeant Stubby was the most decorated dog of the first World War, and the only dog to be promoted to the rank of sergeant on the merit of his combat performance. A dog of “uncertain breed”, it was thought that at least some of his parentage hailed from the Boston Terriers.
Sergeant Stubby was the official mascot of the 102nd Infantry Regiment and served for 18 months. He participated in seventeen battles on the western front and was injured twice in the line of duty. Stubby first made his appearance on the grounds of Yale University where the 102nd Infantry were training. He hung around for a while and Corporal Robert Conroy took a shine to the dog. When Conroy shipped out, he hid Stubby on the convoy ship. When the little stowaway was discovered by a commanding officer, Stubby saluted him as he had been taught and the officer allowed Conroy to take the dog with him to France.
In his first year in battle, Sergeant Stubby was caught in a mustard gas attack and had to be sent for convalescence. When he returned to the frontline, he came equipped with a special gas mask, but he never forgot the smell. Stubby’s ken nose would warn his unit of impending poison gas attacks so that they would be prepared.
Stubby could hear the whine of incoming artillery shells before the humans could, and he would let his unit know when they had to duck for cover. He was adept at finding wounded soldiers in no-man’s land and he was solely responsible for the capturing of a German spy in the Argonne. When he discovered the intruder, he caught the man by the seat of his pants and pinned him down until reinforcements arrived. His capture of an enemy combatant was what earned him his sergeant’s stripes.
Sergeant Stubby returned home from the war a hero. He led many parades and met Presidents Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge, and Warren G. Harding. He died peacefully in his sleep in 1926.
We remember all who have served and those who serve in our armed forces. Thank you for your service; we salute you!