Magazine article America in WWII

A Puppy, a Horse, and a Hero

Magazine article America in WWII

A Puppy, a Horse, and a Hero

Article excerpt

My dad, Captain Howard Ford "Sonny" Stearns, served as company commander for the 504th Military Police Battalion, which was the most decorated MP unit in World War II, earning nine battle stars and four bronze arrowheads for amphibious landings. Over a two-and-a-half-year combat tour, [his] Company A fought from North Africa to Sicily to Italy, where, upon landing at Anzio, my dad assumed command from a shell-shocked major who tried to pick up live shells before being tackled and removed to safety by my dad. My dad helped his company survive the Anzio beachhead shellings by adopting a puppy who gave his company advance warning of incoming enemy shells. At Anzio, my dad and other American soldiers were astounded to discover they were being fired at from a monastery perched high in the hills.

While in France, my dad accepted a white stallion as a condition of surrender. The horse became, over the course of several months, the company mascot and my dad's personal riding horse. …

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