Dogs have been loyal companions of humans for thousands of years. They have served us in various ways, from being our hunting partners to our protectors, and have always been considered an important part of our lives. However, their contribution to the military has been truly remarkable. Dogs have played a crucial role in wars and have saved countless lives by detecting explosives, tracking enemies, and serving as therapy animals for soldiers suffering from PTSD. In this article, we will discuss the story of the highest military rank achieved by a dog, and how it showcases the invaluable service that canines have provided to the military.
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History of Dogs in the Military
Dogs have been used in the military for centuries, primarily for their excellent sense of smell and ability to detect hidden objects. They were first used as messenger dogs in the ancient Greek and Roman armies, and later on, as attack dogs by the Persians and Egyptians. In the modern era, dogs have been used in various roles, including search and rescue, therapy animals, and detection dogs. In the United States, dogs were first used in the military during the Seminole War in the 1830s. Since then, they have played a crucial role in every major conflict, including World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War.
Sergeant Stubby – The Hero Dog
Sergeant Stubby was a pit bull terrier who served in the United States Army during World War I. He was found as a stray by Private J. Robert Conroy in 1917, and soon became the mascot of the 102nd Infantry Regiment. Conroy smuggled Stubby on board the SS Minnesota when the regiment was shipped to France, and he was soon in the trenches with his fellow soldiers.
Achievements of Sergeant Stubby
Stubby’s contributions to the war effort were remarkable. He served in 17 battles, and was responsible for capturing a German spy. Stubby also detected and warned his fellow soldiers of incoming gas attacks, and would wake them up if they fell asleep during sentry duty. He was even able to differentiate between English and German-speaking soldiers by listening to their accents.
Stubby was also known for his bravery. During one battle, he was injured by shrapnel, but managed to crawl to safety and waited for medical attention. He was even promoted to the rank of Sergeant after he saved his regiment from a gas attack by alerting them and leading them to safety. This made him the first dog to ever receive a military rank.
Recognition and Awards
Stubby became a celebrity after the war, and was invited to the White House by President Woodrow Wilson. He was also given a lifetime membership to the American Legion, the YMCA, and the Red Cross. In addition, he was awarded the Purple Heart, which is a military award given to soldiers who are wounded or killed in action. Stubby is the only dog to have ever received this award.
Legacy of Sergeant Stubby
Stubby’s contributions to the military were not forgotten after the war. His story became a part of American folklore, and he was featured in several films and books. In 1921, Stubby participated in the first-ever Armistice Day parade in Washington, D.C., and received a standing ovation from the crowd. In 1926, he died at the age of ten, and was given a full military funeral with over 2,000 people in attendance. Stubby’s legacy has continued to inspire people, and he is considered a true American hero.
In recent years, Stubby has been honored in many ways. In 2018, a bronze statue of him was unveiled at the Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri. The statue depicts Stubby in his military gear, and serves as a tribute to all the dogs who have served in the military. In addition, a movie based on his life, “Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero,” was released in 2018, which helped to further spread his story and inspire a new generation.
The story of Sergeant Stubby is a testament to the bravery and loyalty of dogs. He was a true hero who served his country with distinction, and his achievements will always be remembered. Stubby’s legacy has shown the importance of dogs in the military, and their invaluable contributions to the safety and security of soldiers. The highest military rank achieved by a dog is a fitting tribute to their service and dedication, and serves as a reminder of the important role they have played in our history.
- Bausum, Ann. Sergeant Stubby: How a Stray Dog and His Best Friend Helped Win World War I and Stole the Heart of a Nation. National Geographic Children’s Books, 2014.
- Conroy, Robert. Sergeant Stubby: The Hero Dog of World War I. Skyhorse Publishing, 2015.
- Palazzo, Albert. “The Most Decorated War Dog of World War I.” Army History, no. 111 (2019): 16-27.