Colonel the Dog

Date in History: 1944

Heroes come in all shapes and sizes.

In 1944, a hero from Fort Atkinson came in the form of a Chesapeake Bay Retriever known as Colonel. Born to local breeder Joe Wagner, Colonel made his way to new owners in New Mexico before enlisting in the Army. As a member of the Dogs for Defense, Colonel was trained to go forward under machine gun fire to hunt out fox holes and machine gun nests. He was described as big, husky, intelligent and absolutely unafraid of machine gun fire.

He was sent to Europe in 1943 to begin his military service. In March of 1944 when serving in Italy he was wounded while helping to break up a German machine gun nest. Sadly, Colonel would later die of his wounds. Cited by the army for his bravery, Colonel was eulogized as a noble dog who had done his job well.

This historic document aired on the radio as an Historic Minute on 11/07/2005.

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