Sergeant Stubby; Legionnaire, war hero, terrier, coming to a theater near you

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Sergeant Stubby; Legionnaire, war hero, terrier, coming to a theater near you

From Military Times:

If you’ve watched some of the most popular military-related movies and TV shows in recent memory, chances are you’ve seen Marine veteran Mike Stokey’s work.

Stokey, who served three consecutive tours in Vietnam as a combat correspondent, uses his experiences to inject authenticity into Hollywood’s version of the military.

The former sergeant has worked as a military adviser on a variety of movies and shows, including “Born on the Fourth of July,” “Rules of Engagement,” “Band of Brothers,” “Tropic Thunder,” “The Pacific,” “The Thin Red Line” and “Starship Troopers,” just to name a few.

On Friday, he can officially add another one to his list: That day, the animated “Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero,” which Stokey co-wrote, hits theaters nationwide.

The movie tells the true story of a young soldier who adopts a stray dog and names him Stubby after the pup’s short tail. Together, they head to France during World War I, where Stubby reportedly saw front-line action in 17 battles and helped to catch a German spy.

In fact, he saw quite a bit of action in the war:

Stubby served with the 102nd Infantry Regiment in the trenches in France for 18 months and participated in four offensives and 17 battles. He entered combat on February 5, 1918, at Chemin des Dames, north of Soissons, and was under constant fire, day and night for over a month. In April 1918, during a raid to take Schieprey, Stubby was wounded in the foreleg by the retreating Germans throwing hand grenades. He was sent to the rear for convalescence, and as he had done on the front was able to improve morale. When he recovered from his wounds, Stubby returned to the trenches. He ultimately had two wound stripes.

In his first year of battle Stubby was injured by mustard gas. After he recovered, he returned with a specially designed gas mask to protect him. Also, he learned to warn his unit of poison gas attacks, located wounded soldiers in no man's land, and — since he could hear the whine of incoming artillery shells before humans — became very adept at letting his unit know when to duck for cover. He was solely responsible for capturing a German spy in the Argonne, leading to the commander of the 102 Infantry to nominate Stubby for the rank of sergeant. However, whether Stubby was actually promoted or even an official member of the Army has been disputed. Following the retaking of Château-Thierry by the US, the women of the town made Stubby a chamois coat on which were pinned his many medals. He also helped free a French town from the Germans. He was later injured in the chest and leg by a grenade. At the end of the war, Robert Conroy smuggled Stubby home.

In a piece The American Legion posted a few weeks ago, Mike Hjelmstead noted that that story was pushed by Richard Lanni, who:

began looking for a World War I-themed project after his popular “American Road to Victory” trilogy, the filmmaker decided he’d follow a historic figure through the American experience of the Great War – and came across the story of the nation’s most famous war dog...

Stubby was not only a hero in war, as shown in the film, but he was heroic in supporting veterans returning to a world that had changed. “Veterans had a particularly hard time when they came back from the Great War,” Lanni says. “He visited veterans in the hospital, he led American Legion parades, and he was very active in the Legion.”

Lanni is the founder of Fun Academy Media Group, operating from his homes in Cork, Ireland, and Normandy, France, with production and distribution offices headquartered in Columbus, Ga. His “American Road to Victory,” which follows GIs from D-Day to the Battle of the Bulge, is the most-aired World War II-themed program in U.S. public television history.

To draw younger viewers, Lanni decided to tell Stubby''s story through the eyes of the dog. “I have to be sensitive about it, otherwise it’s going to be a war movie,” he says.


Here's an article from New Britain, CT on January 1, 1924 about his becoming a Legionnaire:

Here's the trailer for the movie:

And, if you ever find yourself on Jeopardy and Alex Trebek asks you who the only other non-human member of The American Legion was, the answer is "Sandy the War Horse."  (Or, again, if on Jeopardy, "Who was Sandy the War Horse?"

War Horse, 32, Made Member by Michigan Post

FLINT, Mich.—Sandy, a 31-year-old war horse, is a member in good standing of the William G. Haan Red Arrow Post No. 151, American Legion—Michigan's only equine Legionnaire.

Old Sandy, who was attached to the Michigan 32nd Division during the World War and served overseas, is still active.

His unusual distinction was voted him by members of the Flint Legion post after an extended period of service during the General Motors strike in Flint with Company K, 106th Division, Michigan Cavalry, National Guard.

W. L. Goodall, commander of the post, hung Sandy's membership emblem around his neck before eight hundred guardsmen.

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Dear CSM Smith,
First, allow me to thank you for your dedication and
valiant service to the CTARNG, The U.S.Army, and America
in time of war.
Thank you also, for providing more detailed background on
our fellow Legionnaire, SGT(RET) Stubby. Sadly, he is no
longer with us to tell us his own “tale.”

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.