War Dog Hero, Sergeant Stubby

Stubby was a stray Pitt Bull/Terrier cross adopted when he joined some troops who were in training. Corporal Robert Conroy of the 102nd Infantry, 26th (Yankee) Division subsequently smuggled him onto their troop ship and taught him to salute officers, so he was allowed to remain with the troops.

Stubby served in the trenches in France in WWI…. he was not worried by the loud noises of warfare, he eagerly would go out and search for wounded soldiers. He nearly lost his life in a gas attack and from then on was able to warn the troops of the presence of poison gas. He could hear the whine on incoming artillery shells, so was a very useful early warning system to let troops know when to duck for cover. He captured a German spy in Argonne when the man made the mistake of speaking German to him. The dog attacked and held onto the seat of his pants until the Allied troops could secure him.

In Paris he saved a young girl from being run over by a car. When the town of Chateau-Thierry was retaken by the US troops, the womenfolk made Stubby a chamois coat on which were pinned his many medals. Stubby is the only dog to be promoted to Sergeant through combat.

After returning home Stubby marched in many parades, usually leading them. He was awarded a special gold medal by the Humane Education Society for service to his country and became a life member of the American Legion, the Red Cross and the YMCA.

In 1926 Stubby died in Conroy’s arms. His remains are in “The Price of Freedom: Americans at War” exhibit at the Smithsonian in Washington and he was honoured with a brick in the Wall of Honour at the United States WWI Monument.

Reference: Lesley Egan, “Sergeant Stubby, War Dog Hero” in “Barbed Wire and Bamboo, the official organ of the Ex-Prisoners of War Association of Australia”, Volume 67, No.5, October 2015, page 16-17.