Smoky and the Army Airborne

SMOKY

At the beginning of of 1944, Smoky, a Yorkshire terrier, was found by an American soldier with a stalled jeep in the New Guinea jungle where she had been abandoned in a foxhole.  She did not respond to either English or Japanese commands.  After taken to the soldier’s camp, in need of cash for a poker night, she was sold to Cpl. William A. Wynne for 2 Australian pounds.  Smoky weighed 4lbs. and stood 7 inches.

Bill Wynne & Smoky

For the next 2 years, Smoky accompanied Wynne on combat fights in the Pacific where temperature and living conditions were deplorable.  Smoky shared his C-rations, and fearful of her contracting scrub typhus, was bathed in his helmet daily.

Wynne had a knack for training dogs and taught Smoky tricks like climbing ladders, going down slides, and walking tightropes while blindfolded.  She entertained the troops in her spare time.  “Yank Down Under” magazine named her “Champion Mascot of the Southwest Pacific” in 1944.

Wynne’s job was to photograph ‘search and rescue’ missions and Smokey slept through 12 combat missions hanging from the ceiling of a Catalina PBY5a.  Smoky flew on 22- hour bombing missions so low, they threw grenades down on the Japanese.  In all, Smoky survived 150 raids on New Guinea.

She managed to save Wynne and 8 men of the 5th Air Force 26th Photo Recon Squadron from incoming shells on their transport ship.  The convoy of 2,300 headed to Luzon when a kamikaze attack destroyed part of the fleet.  Smoky led Wynne to a Jeep just as the attack began.  The attack went on around them, with 150 men killed, but they were unhurt.

Bob Gapp and Bill Wynne prepare Smoky for the culvert

When the squadron set up in Lingayen, about 80 miles NW of Manila, they asked Wynne if Smoky could pull a telephone line through a 70-foot long culvert under the airfield.   After tying the cable to her collar, Wynne coaxed Smoky through the far end.  She navigated through muddy, moldy pipes and climbed mounds of sifted sand every 4 feet.  She did it in a few minutes.  The feat earned her a steak and official “war dog” status.

When Wynne came down with dengue fever, Smoky was so popular, she was allowed to visit him in the hospital.  She eventually accompanied the doctors and nurses on their rounds.  She is the first recorded “therapy dog” in history.

Smoky parachuted from 30′ many times

Smoky wasn’t just dedicated and brave, she learned numerous tricks, that she performed for the troops of the Special Services in hospitals from Korea to Australia.

When orders came through to ship home, regulations did not allow the animals, but Wynne would not abandon Smoky.  He hid her in his oxygen mask’s carrying case and smuggled her aboard the USS William H. Gordon.  Sailors stashed larger dogs in a safe compartment.  Despite threats from the commander, all the animals did receive permission to enter the United States.

Once at home, Smoky continued to entertain.  She did 45 shows around the country without doing any repeated tricks.  Cleveland recognized her as a celebrity and ran her 1957 obituary in the newspaper.

HERE – things go beyond coincidence…..

Smoky, the war hero monument

Former Army nurse Grace Guderian Heidenreich read the obit and contacted Wynne.  In December 1943, as a LT. stationed in Australia, she received a Yorkshire puppy from her fiance.  When the Lt.’s hospital unit was transferred to New Guinea, the Yorkie went with her.  Unfortunately, at a USO show, the puppy wandered off.

Given that very few purebred Yorkshire terriers were registered during those years, she believed it was the same dog.  After the war Grace married Capt. Heidenreich and they settled in Cleveland, just blocks away from where Smoky and Wynne resided.

SMOKY

Smoky was more than a dog; she was a dedicated soldier, the first therapy dog, a morale booster for injured soldiers, entertainer and what is most important – she was a hell of a friend!

Condensed from a story published in the “Voice of the Angels”, newspaper for the 11th Airborne Division.

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

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Farewell Salutes – 

Richard Barkley – Naples, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Matthew Bunker – Delavan, WI; US Army, West Point graduate

Charlie Ferrell – Dallas, TX; US Army, WWII, ETO, 3rd Army

Paul Gaines – Newport, RI; US Army, 2nd Armored Division / Mayor

Cindy Hughes – CT; Civilian, WWII, VA Psychiatric worker

Morris Lupton – Northland, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 431186, WWII, pilot

Raymond Molling – WI; US Navy, WWII, corpsman

Carl Reiner – Bronx, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Cpl., French Interpreter, USO, PTO

Margaret Shinners (100) – Newport, RI; US Navy WAVE, WWII, photographer

William Weidensaul – Eudora, KS; US Navy, WWII, airborne electronics / Boeing

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on July 2, 2020, in Post WWII, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 170 Comments.

  1. It is such a beautiful story and he was a cutie! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Brilliant story. It’s up against some stiff opposition but I’d say this is one of your best. Everyone likes a dog story, and this was a very special dog.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful story. We need more like this now. Shared to WWII True Stories.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Wonderful story! I am reposting.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Wonderful story! 💜 Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. What a wonderful story. Thank you, GP.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Heroes …
    They just step up.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. What an incredible dog! It’s a fabulous story and one with a happy ending.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Thoroughly enjoyed that uplifting story gp, see by his monument he must have received a couple of awards.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. So heartwarming and beautiful. Just loved the story of Smoky.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Excellent post. We all love our pups. She was a great one.

    Liked by 2 people

  1. Pingback: Smoky and the Army Airborne – faujibratsden

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