World War II saw the deployment of many soldiers, human and otherwise. Among these were a number of animals, who served alongside troops and provided invaluable services. One such animal was a tiny Yorkshire Terrier named Smoky, who not only survived the war but also became a celebrated hero.
A Mysterious Beginning
Smoky's journey began in an abandoned foxhole in the New Guinea jungle in February 1944, where she was found by an American soldier. The small, young adult Yorkshire Terrier, who stood only 7 inches tall and weighed just 4 pounds, was initially thought to belong to the Japanese. However, after realizing that she did not understand commands in either Japanese or English, she was sold to Corporal William A. Wynne of Cleveland, Ohio, for two Australian pounds.
A Soldier's Best Friend
For the next two years, Smoky accompanied Wynne through the rest of the war, backpacking and flying on combat flights in the Pacific. Despite facing adverse circumstances such as living in the New Guinea jungle and Rock Islands and enduring primitive conditions in tents under equatorial heat and humidity, Smoky was never ill. In fact, she even managed to run on coral for four months without developing any of the paw ailments that plagued some war dogs.
A Courageous Companion
Smoky served in the South Pacific with the 5th Air Force, 26th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron, and flew 12 air/sea rescue and photo reconnaissance missions. On these flights, Smoky spent long hours dangling in a soldier's pack near machine guns used to ward off enemy fighters. In total, Smoky was credited with twelve combat missions and awarded eight battle stars. She survived 150 air raids on New Guinea and made it through a typhoon at Okinawa. Smoky even parachuted from 30 feet in the air, out of a tree, using a parachute made just for her. Wynne credited Smoky with saving his life by warning him of incoming shells on a transport ship, calling her an "angel" from a foxhole.
More Than a Mascot
In her downtime, Smoky learned numerous tricks, which she performed for the entertainment of troops with Special Services and in hospitals from Australia to Korea. In 1944, Yank Down Under magazine named Smoky the "Champion Mascot in the Southwest Pacific Area." But Smoky's tricks weren't just for entertainment – they also enabled her to become a hero in her own right by helping engineers build an airbase at Lingayen Gulf, Luzon, a crucial airfield for Allied warplanes.
Honoring Her Service
Smoky's story is a testament to the incredible bonds that can form between humans and animals, even in the most challenging circumstances. Her bravery, loyalty, and resourcefulness during World War II are an inspiration, showcasing that even the smallest among us can make a significant impact. As we remember the sacrifices made during this conflict, let's also remember and celebrate the contributions of this tiny hero.
This Memorial Day, as we honor the sacrifice of our service members, we are happy to serve you and your pets if you are traveling. Try us for free or schedule a free consultation to learn more about Fluff and meet your local sitter.