Sgt. Stubby’s reputation as a legendary American war dog was reinforced with the 2018 animated motion picture “Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero.” Film critic Inkoo Kang wrote: “I can’t say that the world needed this movie”...but yet she did.
The family friendly, PG-rated film directed by Richard Lanni was an anchor event in America’s 100-year observance of the end of the World War I.
“The Armistice of 11 November 1918” was signed at Le Francport near Compiègne, ending the fighting in World War I between the Allies and Germany. The rural location, about 60 miles northeast of Paris, was selected intentionally by French Gen. Ferdinand Foch, the Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Armies.
He said he wanted “to shield the meeting from intrusive journalists as well as spare the German delegation any hostile demonstrations by French locals.”
Variety magazine’s film critic Joe Leydon saluted Sgt. Stubby as “an improbably plucky canine on the battlefields of World War I.”
Stubby was a scruffy and homeless mixed-breed terrier who was taken in by Army soldiers training on the grounds of Yale University in New Haven, Conn., in 1917. They smuggled the little dog aboard ship to become part of the “fighting force” in France.
Leydon cited Sgt. Stubby’s valor in a “thrilling sequence that has Stubby racing about to alert French civilians, as a cloud of mustard gas wafts into their village.”
“The celebrated mutt became the most decorated war dog in U.S. military history,” Leydon claimed.
Sgt. Stubby from World War I is one of three war dogs that became subjects of sculptor Susan Bahary of Sausilito, Calif.
The other two are heroes from World War II who served in the Pacific theater.
One was Cappy, a Doberman pinscher. He served in the Marine Corps in 1944, a proud and noble member of the famed “Devil Dog” platoons that were sent in to retake Guam from Japanese forces.
Cappy reportedly saved the lives of 250 Marines when he warned them that a massive Japanese force (as many as 5,000 soldiers) was approaching their encampment. Cappy was fatally injured in the ensuing mortar attack, one of the first war dogs to be killed in action on Guam.
Bahary was chosen to create a memorial at the Marine Corps War Dog Cemetery at Naval Base Guam, which was dedicated on July 21, 1994, the 50th anniversary of the battle.
Her bronze sculpture atop the memorial depicts Cappy. It is entitled “Always Faithful,” in reverent reference to the Marine Corps motto, “Semper Fidelis.” It honors 25 Marine war dogs that gave their lives liberating Guam in 1944.
The other World War II dog that Bahary was asked to sculpt was Smoky, a tiny Yorkshire terrier. She was rescued in 1944 by American Army soldiers on New Guinea.
Smoky was found abandoned in a foxhole deep within the jungle. She was trained as an “infrastructure specialist,” transporting a communications cable under an air strip through a drain pipe. This act saved days of labor and safeguarded 40 U.S. warplanes.
The bronze Smoky statue was unveiled in Cleveland, Ohio, on Veterans Day in 2005. Smoky is sitting in a GI helmet, on a granite base. Indeed, she was a petite but mighty Yorkie – measuring 7 inches in length and weighing a scant 4 pounds.
She was dubbed “Smoky, the Yorkie Doodle Dandy.”