Monday, 12 November 2007
In this time of remembrance, let us have a thought for all those brave animals which in their way contributed to the war effort. Here is the story of Stubby who was adopted by the 102nd Infantry, 26th (Yankee) Division, at Yale Field, New Haven, CT, in the spring of 1917. It is not known where he came from or what his pedigree was, but he appeared to be several weeks old at the time of his arrival. Throughout his service, his caretaker was J. Robert Conroy. In July 1917, he was smuggled aboard the S.S. Minnesota at Newport News, VA, and sailed to France with his unit. Following winter training of his unit, Stubby went to the front and by February 1918, he was in the trenches. Fitted with his own gas mask, Stubby underwent several gas attacks and was adept at warning the troops when gas was approaching their positions. On April 20, 1918, he was wounded in the left foreleg by a shell fragment during the Battle of Seicheprey. He earned one wound stripe and three service stripes. He participated in 17 engagements in four World War I offensives. After the Armistice, Stubby met President Woodrow Wilson when the President visited the 102nd Infantry regiment in France on Christmas Day 1918. When Stubby's unit returned to the United States in 1919, the dog was again smuggled aboard ship for the return trip. Upon his return home, he was made a life member of the American Legion, the American Red Cross and the YMCA. Stubby died in 1926, and his remains were preserved with technical assistance from the Smithsonian Institution. A plaster cast was made of his body, his skin was mounted on the cast, and his cremated remains were interred within the cast. For many years, he was on display at the National Red Cross Museum. On May 22, 1956, his master, J. Robert Conroy, presented Stubby to the Smithsonian. Included with the gift were a brass-studded collar, a leather harness, a scrapbook containing the history of Stubby, and a chamois blanket embroidered by women from the village of Chateau Thierry ( Marne region ) with the flags of the Allies and decorated with various badges and medals.
Stubby is one of many heroes.