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Unsung Hero: A Man's Best Friend

Joined: 1/28/2015
Posts: 1
Sirens were blaring and clouds of smoke surrounded the war zone. Struggling American soldiers were in the midst of a Japanese attack on their Air Force base during World War II. Lying on the rough terrain, whimpering like a newborn, was a wounded dog who had suffered a broken leg. Air force personnel carried the six-month-old black and white Australian sheep dog back to base for immediate care. Fortunately the doctor was able to repair the dog’s broken leg and “Gunner” was now part of the Air Force.
As Gunner became familiar with the soldiers and the new environment, his master, Percy Westcott, began to notice his remarkable sense of hearing. One day they were repairing planes when Gunner started to bark and jump up and down. As normal the soldiers thought Gunner just wanted to play so they ignored him and proceeded to fix the fighter planes. Within a few minutes Japanese bombers swooped in and began to attack the Air Force base. A few days later, the same incident happened again. As the soldiers were out working, Gunner started to bark and jump again. This time the soldiers remembered what happened the previous time and ran for shelter. Strangely enough, a few minutes later the sirens sounded and the Japanese raiders attacked. It was at this point that the soldiers knew that they had found their secret weapon.
From that moment on, Gunner was a valuable piece that helped the United States change the tide of the war. Typical of Australian sheep dogs, they possess an incredible sense of hearing better than any other breed of dog. Gunner’s hearing was so keen that he was able to warn soldiers of approaching Japanese aircrafts up to twenty minutes before they arrived or even showed up on radar. The most remarkable thing about Gunner was that he only barked when enemy planes were nearby, never allied planes. The Air Force base relied on Gunner so much that Wing Commander McFarlane gave approval for Westcott to sound off the siren whenever Gunner caused commotion.
From February 1942 to November 1943 there were over sixty air attacks on the Air Force base and Gunner alerted them on nearly every single one. The impact Gunner had on the U.S. Air Force base is immeasurable. Not only did he save countless number of lives, but he provided enjoyment to the soldiers while they were in battle away from their loved ones. Gunner’s job in the Air Force truly defined the meaning of a “man’s best friend”. Gunner slept with the soldiers, showered with the men, sat with the men during outdoor movies, and even went up with the pilots during practice landings and take-offs. When people look back at World War II, they focus on the impact the soldiers had on the U.S. victory, while they should not forget the impact of unsung heroes like Gunner.
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