Smoky was found in a foxhole in New Guinea in February 1944. The American soldier who found her thought she must have been a Japanese soldier’s dog, but when he took her to a POW camp, they found out she didn’t understand commands in Japanese or English. The soldier sold Smoky to Cpl. William Wynne of Cleveland, Ohio for two dollars.
Over the next two years, Wynne carried Smoky in his backpack as he fought in the jungles of Rock Island and New Guinea and flew 12 air/sea rescue missions. Smokey survived 150 air raids on New Guinea and made it through a typhoon at Okinawa. She would warn G.I’s of incoming artillery and was dubbed the “angel from a foxhole.”
Early in retaking the Philippines, combat engineers were setting up a telegraph line to an airfield. The joints collapsed and filled with sand. Wynne knew that Smoky could climb through the pipe with a new line. Smoky’s work saved approximately 250 ground crewmen from having to move around and kept 40 fighters and reconnaissance planes operational.
In her downtime, she performed tricks with the Special Services to improve the morale of the troops and visited hospitals in Australia and Korea. Regularly visiting with the sick and wounded, she became the first recorded “therapy dog.”
After the war, Smokey became a sensation back in the states. She had a live TV show and often visited veterans’ hospitals. Smoky’s work as a therapy dog continued for 12 years. Wynne had Smokey for 14 years before she passed away. He buried her in a 30 caliber ammo box in Rocky River Reservation, Ohio.
Smoky was without a doubt the smallest war hero weighing in at four pounds even and standing seven inches tall. This is the memorial to her, placed on the site where she was buried in 1956.
Know Before You Go
Plenty of free parking, close to I90 on the west side of Cleveland.