Who Was the Most Decorated Dog War Hero?


Quick Answer

Sergeant Stubby, who served during World War I, is perhaps the most famous and most decorated American dog war hero. He served in 17 battles and is the only canine to earn rank in the military. And if it weren’t for a daring young soldier, Stubby might never have served at all.

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Who Was the Most Decorated Dog War Hero?
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Full Answer

In April of 1917, the United States entered World War I. The 102nd Infantry, 26th Yankee Division began training on the grounds at Yale University, readying for an eventual deployment. That’s when a puppy, just weeks old, wandered into the camp. The troops loved him, took him in, and he soon became the division’s beloved mascot.

When it came time for troops to ship to Europe, Corporal J. Robert Conroy snuck Stubby into a coal bin for the trip to Europe on the SS Minnesota. He even hid the pup in his overcoat while disembarking. It wasn’t long, however, before Conroy’s commanding officer found Stubby.

This is when, according to legend, Stubby saluted the commanding officer - as he had been trained in camp by the division. After that, the story says, he was allowed to stay. He went on to do many great things while serving, not the least of which was boost morale. He found injured soldiers, warned of incoming artillery shells and detected poison gas (after being injured by mustard gas, he was even given his own custom-fitted gas mask). Even after being injured by a grenade, he would return to keep injured troops company.

Perhaps his biggest claim to fame is biting and capturing a German spy, who was sent to the American side to map out their trenches. It was for this act that Stubby was awarded the rank of Sergeant in the 102nd Infantry by the commanding officer.

After the war, Stubby was smuggled back into the United States by Conroy. He was celebrated as a war hero, meeting presidents and high ranking military officials. After “retiring” from the military, Stubby later became the mascot for Georgetown University.

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