Smoky The Tiniest Hero

Smoky was a 4 lb, 7 inches tall, Yorkshire Terrier who served in World War II. In 1944 Smoky was found in a foxhole in the jungles of New Guinea by an American soldier who brought her back to camp and sold her to Corporal William A. Wynne for $6.44. For the next 2 years, Smoky lived a soldier’s life. Because she was not an official military dog, she did not get dog food or medical care. She shared Wynne’s meals and slept beside him in his tent.

The dog was named Smoky, and over the last two years of the war she accompanied Wynne on 12 combat missions and dozens of air raids, and entertained troops and the hospitalized wounded with tricks she learned during downtime. Those tricks served her well after the war too, used to entertain the world on tours and TV shows. Millions of people knew and loved Smoky the War Dog.

It’s not only cats and birds that have braved enemy lines. Living on soldier rations, she helped her owner, Corporal William Wynne, by warning him of incoming fire — and at one point by running a telegraph wire through a narrow tunnel for 70 feet.

The little dog even flew 12 air/sea rescue and photo reconnaissance missions, secured in the soldier’s backpack. She survived 150 air raids and saved Wynne by warning him of incoming shells. Like many Yorkies, Smoky also loved to learn tricks and perform. She did so with the Special Services – entertaining soldiers in hospitals. After the war Smoky was flown back to the US hidden in an oxygen mask-carrying case.

About 50 years after Smoky’s death, a monument was made with a life-size sculpture of the photo that made her famous—Smoky sitting in an upturned steel helmet. It was placed over the spot where Smoky was buried, and stands in honor of Smoky and all dogs who have served in wars across the decades.

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