Posted on February 26th, 2017 by:

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By S/Sgt. Gordon Crowe, AAFTTC, Santa Monica, Calif.

When the CO called me into his office the other morning, handed me a baggage tag and told me to pick up a crate at the express office, my soldier intuition warned me that trouble was brewing. The crate explained the CO, contained a dog, and it had been sent by a patron of the squadron who was interested in the welfare of the squadron. The dog was to be the outfit’s official mascot.

I hurried to the express office and to my surprise saw a crate big enough to contain a baby grand piano. There was a great deal of movement going on inside the crate, and on the outside a note was tacked which read: “My name is Ralph, what’s yours?” I opened the crate and a huge great Dane jumped out, swept up and down the baggage room for a few minutes, knocking over whatever boxes and trunks and workers got in his way. Then he came up to me, put his forepaws on my shoulders and proceeded to lick my face with a tongue like a wet file. After that he gave a few short barks which seemed to say, “Well, what are we waiting for?” and jumped into the jeep.

He insisted on sitting between me and the driver, and all the way back into camp he would blow the horn, shift the gears and even step on the brakes, just to show how smart he was.

It was just my luck to be placed in charge of Ralph. I prepared an enormous box with soft bedding in the basement, but he refused point blank to sleep there. Every night he would run up the barracks stars, roll me out of my bunk and then sleep there until noon the next day, which resulted in my getting gigged time and again. Then he’d stroll into the mess hall, drool over my shoulder and sniff at my food. Anything that appealed to him was his, and as a result I lost six pounds the first week he was in camp.

He had more unmitigated gall than anyone I’ve ever met. I arrived at the barracks one evening, dead tired from a 14-mile hike, to find him entertaining two female mutts from a nearby squadron. The pint of gin I had smuggled into the camp and carefully hidden in my foot locker was almost empty, and there he sat, with my best pipe in his mouth, belching and having a helluva time.dog wwii cartoon

Unable to control myself any longer, I complained to the CO. The CO listened to my pleas for a few minutes and then cut me short. “I’m afraid,” he said coldly, “That you have no appreciation of your responsibilities in this matter. This gentle creature has endeared himself to all who know him. In fact I plan to appoint him the official sweetheart of Squadron D.”

After that he not only bawled me out for negligence, but ordered me moved to the basement and gave my bunk and foot locker to the dog.

For More Reading Check Out:

Always Faithful: A Memoir of the Marine Dogs of WWII

No Better Friend: One Man, One Dog, and Their Extraordinary Story of Courage and Survival in WWII

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