Remembering Sergeant Stubby
Stubby began life as a stray on the Yale campus in 1917 and went on to become the only dog to be promoted to sergeant through combat. This highly decorated pooch served his country well!
The Boston terrier / pit bull mix joined his owner John Robert Conroy in serving with the 102nd Infantry, 26th Division in World War One. He was in the trenches in France for 18 months and participated in four offensives and 17 battles. Stubby had many duties on the front lines. He located wounded soldiers in no man’s land and woke a sleeping sentry to alert him of an attack. He let his unit know when to duck for cover since he could hear the whine of incoming artillery shells before the humans could. And after being gassed himself, he learned to warn his unit about poison gas attacks. Just as important, he provided morale-lifting visits up and down the line. He even discovered a German spy in hiding, holding onto his pants until soldiers arrived to complete the capture.
In April 1918, Stubby was injured during a raid to take Schieprey. As the Germans withdrew, they threw a hand grenade behind them. The overly enthusiastic Stubby was on top of the trench when it went off and was injured in the foreleg. He recovered from the injury and went onto return to the front lines.
Stubby was frequently seen wearing his chamois coat which was embroidered with the flags of the allies and displayed his many medals. The garment was made for him by the grateful women of Château-Thierry after the US retook the town.
By the end of his military career, Sergeant Stubby was the most decorated war dog of World War I and the only dog to be promoted to sergeant through combat. He was honored by Presidents Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge, and Warren G. Harding.
When he returned home from the war, Stubby became a celebrity. He became a lifetime member of the American legion and marched in every legion parade and attended every legion convention from the end of the war until his death.
In 1926, at age 9 or 10, Stubby died in Conroy’s arms. His obituary in the New York Times was three columns wide by half a page long! His remains were presented for display purposes to the Smithsonian, where they are now featured in the Price of Freedom: Americans at War exhibit