World War II produced many heroes, but very few of these courageous individuals weighed just four pounds and stood a mere seven inches tall. But those were the vital stats for one valiant combatant in the 1940s, and this wartime wonder was female too. “Corporal” Smoky the Yorkshire terrier was a four-legged member of the U.S. forces that fought the Japanese in the Pacific theater. But despite the tiny critter’s size, her massive contributions helped to save American lives. And what’s more, she subsequently brought great succor to many wounded servicemen.
The facts about Smoky’s birth and lineage are shrouded in mystery. The first thing we can say for a fact is that a G.I. came across the stray in a forgotten foxhole in the eastern rainforest of Papua New Guinea in February 1944. The U.S. Army Air Corps had established an airbase close to the nearby village of Nadzab the previous year.
Apparently, the tiny terrier was not in great shape when she was found. Half-starved, her looks were not improved by a buddy of her rescuer shaving off the dog’s fur, thinking she was too hot. Seemingly, this impromptu makeover left the pooch looking like a badly abused brush. But nevertheless, one soldier who shared a billet with the good Samaritan G.I. could see past the canine’s bizarre appearance.