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In honor of Memorial Day Weekend and veterans of the war, especially those who gave their lives, we’re going to commemorate some of our canine soldiers who served on the frontlines.
Civil War – Sallie
Sallie served as mascot for the 11th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. Sallie belonged to 1st Lt. William R. Terry, and was raised as part of the regiment. Sallie always marched along with her soldiers, to the battlefield and always to the frontlines. She was even saluted by Abraham Lincoln himself at a Union Army review. At Gettysburg, Sallie was separated from the infantry. They found her three days later, guarding the bodies of deceased soldiers. Unfortunately, Sallie was killed in action two years later. She was buried directly on the battlefield while under enemy fire.
World War I – Rags
Rags was a Cairn Terrier mix who was a mascot and cheerleader for the 1st Infantry Division. Rags joined the infantry thanks to Pvt. James Donovan, who in a moment of fear, went AWOL. Just as two policeman caught him, he tripped over little Rags, and used the excuse that he was sent out to find a mascot, and held Rags up. Rags then did become their mascot. He even relayed messages from the front lines. His hero moment was when he ran through falling bombs and sustained serious injuries.
World War II – Smoky
Smoky was only four pounds and seven inches tall, but she served her duty nonetheless. She was found in a foxhole in New Guinea by an American soldier. For the next two years, Smoky was a true soldier. Because she wasn’t an official military dog, she shared meals with her soldier, Wynne, and slept beside him. She gave Wynne warnings of incoming air raids and entertained injured soldiers in the hospital.
Vietnam War – Nemo
Nemo was trained as a sentry dog at Lackland Airforce Base in Texas. He went to Vietnam in 1966, where he was partnered with Airman 2nd Class Robert Thorneburg. One night, when Thorneburg and Nemo were out on patrol, Nemo sensed something. Both him and Thorneburg were shot. Though Nemo was shot through the muzzle, he ran toward the four gunmen, which gave his partner time to call for reinforcement.
Iraqi War on Freedom – Lex
Lex is a German Shepherd who served alongside Cpl. Dustin Lee. Lex was faithful to his owner, and served with him every day. During a mortar attack outside Falluja, Lee was killed. Lex was right by his side, and was so faithful that he had to be pulled away from Lee’s body so medics could attend to him. Lex showed his faith by attending Lee’s funeral and comforting his younger siblings.
All veterans, killed in action, injured, or at home, human or furry, deserve our praise this weekend.