back by popular demand.
i originally published the stubby blog post on august 1, 2009. with the renewed interest, i thought it was time to resurrect him.
you all know the routine, a pit bull attacks, people call for a ban, nutters show up in force on the on-line comment sections screaming "but but... sgt stubby was a pit bull!" and "sgt stubby was the most highly decorated dog in military history!" i have in my possession a book about dogs in war and the facts about stubby are a little different than the on-line pit nutter rantings. first of all, stubby was never trained or awarded any medals or ranks by the u.s. military. and second, if stubby were alive today and bit someone, i feel confident in saying that the nutters would show up on-line screaming, "that's not a pit bull!"
i admit stubby did serve his country and i don't want to take that away from him. even if stubby did nothing more than provide comfort to frightened and injured soldiers, i find that admirable. but there are some serious exaggerations around his service and his awards.
by Michael G. Lemish
Stubby: American Mascot Hero p24-26
Contrary to army regulations, american soldiers adopted many dogs as mascots while fighting in France in WW1. The dogs were not trained for any specific mission, but fulfilled their duty as devoted friends, providing comfort under stress in a horrid war. Rin Tin Tin for example, was a german mascot puppy found alone in a trench after an attack by americans. the dog would grow up to be a matinee idol and added to the folklore and popularity of the german shepherd breed.
Often canine mascots provided more than simple companionship. Although not formally trained, they still rendered valuable service and saved many lives by warning a comrade of attacking aircraft or the imminent onslaught of a deadly gas attack. Such is the story of Stubby, a stray pit bull picked up from the streets of Hartford, Connecticut by Robert Conroy. Europe had its war dog heroes, and although Stubby was not a product of an official military program, he is presented in these pages as an honored warrior, a fascinating example of how soldiers valued their dogs.
During the summer of 1917, Stubby became the mascot of the 102d infantry, part of the army's 26th Yankee Division, while they completed their military training in the Yale Bowl near Hartford. Conroy smuggled him aboard ship at Newport News, Virginia, and the pair landed together at St. Nazaire, France, in january 1918. Stubby joined the fighting with the 102d on february 5, 1918, at Chemin des Dames, just northwest of Soissons. During one night while the troops slept, he warned a sleeping sergeant of an impending gas attack, allowing time for the soldiers to don their masks. Another time, Stubby acted as a sentry, clamping his teeth onto a german infiltrator who was then quickly captured.
The small dog then accompanied the men into the Toul sector, where he inadvertently strayed into no-man's land, receiving a shrapnel wound for the errant walk. After recovery from the injury, Stubby and the 102d participted in battles at Chateau-Thierry, the Marne, Saint-Mihiel, and the Meuse-Argonne. The men fashioned a Victory Medal with five bars and attached it to his collar to display his participation in each offensive.
As Stubby's popularity grew, several french women fashioned a blanket for him to wear. For unknown reasons, it became popular for people to pin medals on the blanket, and shortly he became known as the "Hero Dog". The actions of Stubby may not be considered heroic, although several messages were carried by the short tailed dog under enemy fire, but heroism is a broadly defined term, and if devotion to duty is included within the attributes of a hero, then Stubby fulfills the definition. Perhaps the medals were presented more as a reward for the companionship the dog offered, as battles raged and the utter destruction and carnage cloaked young men like a shroud. Often the dog sought out the wounded and simply cuddled alongside.
After serving nineteen months overseas and participating in seventeen battles, Stubby returned home with Conroy, and the dog's popularity seemed to grow even more. In 1920 the Eastern Dog Club of Boston awarded him a large silver medal. A year later, General Pershing awarded the little dog a gold medal made by the Humane Society. The American Red Cross, the YMCA, and the American Legion all made the dog a life member of their organizations.
Stubby toured the country by invitation from Legionnaires and probably participated in more parades than any other dog in the world. While the 102d was in France, he was in attendance while President Wilson reviewed the troops. President Harding met both Conroy and Stubby in 1921 and in 1925 President Coolidge welcomed the pair during a visit to the White House. What other dog could ever boast of being in the presence of three presidents?
10. In literature Stubby has been described as a pit bull, bulldog, Boston bulldog, and probably a few others. Chances are he was blessed with a little something from several breeds.
11. According to one account, Conroy's personal papers and a detailed history of Stubby's adventures was left with the Red Cross Museum in Washington DC. When asked their whereabouts, museum personnel were at a loss. Conroy's papers could possibly be stored away somewhere in the vast collection of the Smithsonian Institute.
Sargeant Stubby, one of our country's most decorated war heroes, was also a Pit Bull -- one of our country's most misunderstood breeds. Stubby was a WWI veteran and served with the US Marine Corps in Europe.
stubby served with the army, not the marines.
Most people Have never heard of Sergeant Stubby, yet he is the most decorated dog in military history.
decorated by who? french housewives? soldiers? even the medal presented by general pershing was made by the humane society. it was presented by pershing not AWARDED by pershing.
He actually was the only dog to receive rank in the military. He fought in 25 battles, warned an entire platoon of a nazi gas attack and captured a german sniper making a map of an american base. the dog was bad ass
stubby "fought" in 17 battles NOT 25. stubby was a mascot, not a soldier. he did not officially receive the rank of sergeant. his division commander could make stubby president, that means nothing. stubby's sergeant rank is honorary only.
all of the military medals, stripes, patches, and awards were honorary. all of the rest were granted by french housewives or humane societies.
Also ironic is that Sgt. Stubby, a war dog whose breed was in 1917 referred to as a “Pit Bull Terrier” or an “American Bull Terrier,” was the most decorated war dog of World War I and the only dog ever to be promoted to sergeant through combat. Sergeant Stubby was decorated by two presidents and is preserved in the Smithsonian Institute
pit nutters turn "meeting" presidents into "decorated by" presidents
Stubby was a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, one of the breeds that are referred to as the much maligned Pit Bulls of today.
it is obvious that stubby was predominantly boston bull, a pit dog in those days but not an apbt or an amstaff.
according to Lemish, "The dog who provided unquestionable devotion for many years has as his final epitaph scribbled on a shipping crate reading 'Stubby the dog–Fragile." and the pit nutters have liberally filled in the blanks.
this is an outstanding book and i strongly recommend it. of particular interest are the old photos and there are lots of them, 71 to be exact. here is how they break down.
49 photos of german shepherds
9 photos of sled dogs (huskies/malamutes)
4 photos of dobies
3 photos i couldn't identify the breed because the image was too small
and one smuggled "PIT BULL"