Deep within the New Guinea jungle, US Soldiers serving in World War II could be found working on getting a stalled Jeep engine. When seemingly out of nowhere, they began to hear whimpering coming from an abandoned foxhole nearby. After further investigation, a soldier reemerged from the Jungle clutching a small Yorkshire Terrier that had been left behind. That was probably the last thing that soldier expected to find in the jungle that day!
After returning to base, the soldier who had found her sold her to Corporal William A. Wynne. He immediately connected with her and named her Smoky for her grey smoke-colored fur. From that point on, Smoky would be seen by Wynne’s side. They slept together in his tent, shared food rations, and spent the days together. Smoky was a shining light and adored among the soldiers who were fighting in a war half a world away from their loved ones. Wynne taught her tricks to perform and sometimes dressed her up in a clown suit as a morale booster for his fellow soldiers.
Smoky the War Dog
Even though Smoky stood at 4 lbs and 7 inches tall, she packed a punch on the battlefield! She ended up earning 8 battle stars during her 12 combat missions in WWII where she accompanied Wynne. She even once parachuted from 30 feet up in the air, out of a tree using a specially made parachute!
One of her most heroic acts occurred when Wynne’s squadrons were attacked during an air raid while headed to the Philippines. With waves of bullets coming down, Smoky managed to guide Wynne and other soldiers off the ship’s exploding deck to safety.
Post War Life
Smoky and Wynne’s courageousness earned them a name back home in the states after returning from the War. Their reputation had grown so large that Wynne and Smoky started touring the country and performed over 45 live shows all of which contained no-repeat tricks! And in their free time, the pair continued their tradition of entertaining the troops with Smoky’s infectious fun.
However, on February 21, 1957, Smoky died unexpectedly at the age of 14. She was buried at her final resting place in Cleveland Ohio, by Wynne and his family in a little WWII ammo box. Atop her grave sits a bronze sculpture recreating the picture Wynne took of little Smoky years ago sitting in a soldier’s helmet. Even though she’s no longer with us now, Smoky will always be remembered as the little Yorkie that saved lives and brought hope to a dark place.
If you found this blog post interesting and want to learn more about Smoky, then check out William Wynne’s memoir that goes more in-depth!