Sgt. Stubby: World War I Hero

sgt stubby
Sgt. Stubby won numerous medals and honors for his service and heroism.

One unusual World War I hero fought in seventeen battles, received a gold medal from the Supreme Commander of the Armed Services John “Blackjack” Pershing, and was honored by three presidents. He even has an exhibit in the Smithsonian Natural History Museum.

His name is Sgt. Stubby, and he is a dog.
Stubby, a brindle and white pit bull-terrier mix with a stub tail, was adopted by Pvt. Robert Conroy after the pup wandered onto the military training ground of Yale University in the spring of 1917. Dogs were forbidden in military camps, but Stubby so lifted the morale of the soldiers that officials allowed him to stay.
Stubby was smart. He learned the meaning of the different bugle calls and marched with the soldiers on drill, keeping step with them. He even learned to salute by lifting his right paw to his right brow, following the lead of his fellow soldiers and saluting when they did so.
When the troops shipped out to France on the USS Minnesota, Pvt. Conroy smuggled Stubby aboard, hiding the dog in a coal bin until the ship was far at sea. Once on deck, Stubby quickly won the hearts of the sailors just as he had won over the soldiers. When the commanding officer discovered a dog on board ship, Stubby saluted, and the CO laughed then allowed Stubby to stay and participate in training drills.
When the regiment went to the frontlines of the Western Front, Stubby went with them, this time with a special order from the Colonel. Stubby quickly became the mascot of the 102nd Infantry, 26th Yankee division, and he soon proved his heroism.
During heavy fire, Stubby ran back and forth among the trenches, locating injured soldiers and barking until help arrived or leading others away from approaching bombs and shelling to safely (he could hear the bombs approach). His first injury was when he was exposed to poison gas and had to be sent to the field hospital. After he returned to the regiment, he was highly sensitive to the tiniest, trace odor of gas. Once, during an early morning gas launch while most of the soldiers were asleep, Stubby sniffed the odor of gas and ran through the trench barking and biting the legs of the troops until everyone was awake and able to don their gas masks. He saved their lives.
Stubby was also deemed a hero when he caught a German soldier crawling in the Allied trenches making maps. Stubby barked and clamped his teeth onto the enemy spy’s leg until his comrades arrived to take the spy into custody. For this act of heroism Stubby was promoted to Sergeant by the CO of the 102nd Infantry. He now outranked Conroy who had been promoted to Corporal.
Before the war was over, Stubby was injured again, this time by shrapnel from a grenade. He was sent to the Red Cross Recovery Hospital where he received treatment for chest and leg wounds. While recuperating, Stubby visited the other patients and cheered them, maintaining his role a morale-booster even when he was injured himself.
After the war, while still in France, Stubby lead the review parade of the American troops past President Woodrow Wilson. Later, he won lifetime membership in the American Legion and the American Red Cross. He marched in Legion parades and met Presidents Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge. Stubby’s person, Cpl. Conroy, attended Georgetown University where Stubby amused football fans during halftime by nudging the football around the field. Georgetown’s canine mascots still keep this tradition.
Stubby was awarded many medals, chevrons, and pins for his heroism, including a gold medal from the Humane Society. He wore his medals on a blanket “uniform” made during the war by the women of Chateau-Thierry, France. Today his uniform is displayed at the Smithsonian Institute in “The Price of Freedom” collection.
Sgt. Stubby died on March 16, 1926. His service to his country paved the road for military and civilian recognition of the value of canines in combat and for the creation, during World War II, of the first K-9 Corps. Sgt. Stubby is the “Grandfather of American War Dogs”.
This article also appears in our May 2011 newsletter.

Take a “Stay-cation”: Cool things to do at home.

I had hoped to send this out with my newsletter, but time is wasting so I’m going to blog it until the newsletter is finished. Don’t miss these fun things to do in western NC during August and September.

Warp & Weft Newsletter article:
I had a positive reaction to my stay-cation column last month, so I decided to extend it into August and September.

I’ve added more cool things to do in our own neighborhood. Daytrips are fun for the whole family or just as a break for yourself.

I’ve only repeated events that occur in August or continue on additional dates. Check our archives for the older article in the July newsletter.


old salem children
<Old Salem, Winston-Salem Old Salem was founded in 1766 by the Moravians. The settlers were respected for their architecture, and visitors enjoy seeing the attention to detail the Moravians gave to the buildings in the Old Town, where costumed tradespeople recreate the life of the 18th century community. The site also includes four unique museums and eleven period gardens. If you’ve only visited Old Salem with a school group, you’ll enjoy seeing it at a more leisurely pace. It’s open Tues. -Sun.

Pack Place Located in downtown Asheville, Pack Place is the home of the Asheville Art Museum, Colburn Earth Science Museum, Diana Wortham Theater, YMI Cultural Center, and The Health Adventure. They have a variety of exhibits and activities, the admission is reasonable, and although they are getting a facelift, they are open throughout the week in the summer.

Western NC Nature Center Also in Asheville off I-40 exit 53B, the WNC Nature Center has a main exhibit area, a predator habitat, an otter habitat, nocturnal hall, petting area, nature trail, and educational farm. It offers many programs for children and adults. It provides a home for injured, orphaned or imprinted animals that could not survive on their own; this facility is also one of 28 in the country participating in the red wolf re-introduction program.

Emerald Village, Little Switzerland My ancestors are from Little Switzerland, so I am partial to the place. Emerald Village is a gem mine where you can dig for your own gems, watch artisans shape the gems into jewelry, or tour the exhibit of gems and minerals native to the area. There’s an indoor and outdoor area, and they guarantee you’ll find a gem. The cost is reasonable, and it’s a different sort of outing for the family.

Special Events
47th Art in the Park, Blowing Rock, Aug. 15, Sept. 12, Oct. 3 Blowing Rock is fun anytime, and the temperature is usually about 10 degrees cooler than it is in Hickory. The little village has shops, antique stores, restaurants, and an outlet park on the main highway. Art in the Park, which happens once a month in the spring and summer, is a special treat with about 100 juried artists and craftspeople exhibiting jewelry, pottery, woodworking, painting, photography, fiber and glass. The times are 10am -5pm in downtown Blowing Rock. Make a day of it.

120th Soldiers’ Reunion, Newton, Aug. 13-23 The Soldiers Reunion in Newton features different events each day. The most well-known is on Thurs., Aug. 20, when all-day activities on the square around the Old Courhouse culminate in a Parade at 5 pm. Other popular events include the Crusin’ Car Show on Aug. 16, Beach Music on Aug. 18, and a street dance on Aug. 19. For a full schedule, click the link above.
Note: Julie and I will be doing chair massage on Aug. 20 all day until the parade. Come and check out our booth.

Mile High Kite Festival, Beech Mountain, Sept. 6 Beech Mountain is the highest city in the eastern US, so it’s cool in the summer. The Kite Festival is an annual event during the Labor Day weekend that offers kite enthusiasts the rare chance to fly a kite at a mile above sea level. Richmond Air Force, Wings Across Carolina Kiting and Okra Society Kiting Clubs will be exhibiting. and kite building and decorating clinics will be offered, so be sure to bring your supplies.