There were no photos with this story, and this isn't a picture of 'Wally D. Hund.' But what a great dachshund tale! The author, James Lee Hutchinson, worked with Larry D. Bedford to provide the account as a guest columnist for Times-Mail out of Indiana: Sgt. Hund served with the 110 Military Police Platoon , Seventh Corps Headquarters, in Stuttgart, Germany, in 1960-64. Sgt. Larry D. Fortner of Bedford served four years in the same unit. He was well acquainted with Wally and provided the information for this story.
Sgt. Wally D. Hund was the platoon mascot and the commanding general’s dog. Hund was a black dachshund who had earned his stripes as a great morale builder. He proudly wore his sargeant’s chevrons on his uniform, which was a black MP arm band modified to attach to his collar and button under his long, fat belly.
Wally had a weight problem because he loved a lot of hamburgers and a little beer. He roamed the base all day and bunked in the MP barracks at night. Most all the 48 soldiers in the platoon gave him treats and spoiled him rotten. Everyone thought of him as their dog, but whenever he became too fat, the general would take him to his own quarters for a week or two of dieting. However, he was back on patrol as soon as he regained his normal figure and able to move without waddling.
Wally needed to be agile and able to move quickly to avoid jeeps and trucks moving about the base. But the dog continued to gain weight because he was receiving too many handouts of hamburgers and beer. Sometimes he became “tipsy” from too much beer. His friends were “killing him with kindness.”
It came to a head one summer day when the general happened to glance out his window and see Private First Class Elmer Dugan throwing rocks at Sgt. Hund. The general blew his stack and ordered a colonel to bring PFC Dugan to his office immediately. The soldier left the office without his one and only stripe. Private Dugan had been “busted” for throwing rocks. Dugan was only trying to get “Fat Wally” to move out of traffic, but it was three months before he got that lonely PFC stripe back.
Meanwhile, the general issued an order: “No one is to provide hamburgers or beer to Sgt. Wally D. Hund”
Wally moved into the general’s quarters again and eventually became a lean mean machine. In fact, he came so frisky that he ran off with a girlfriend who happened to cross his path. Sgt. Hund was AWOL for almost a week. Everyone was relieved when the bedraggled, but happy, dog returned to the base. But, he was in big trouble.
Sgt. Hund was not courtmartialed, but he did face a demotion ceremony.
By order of the general: “All men not on duty are to attend this ceremony in dress uniform.”
Sgt. Wally D. Hund stood calmly before the formation on that dark day.
His black MP uniform (arm band) was removed.
He stood naked before the troops as one of his stripes was ripped off. Sgt. Hund had been “busted.”
He left the parade ground as Corp. Wally D. Hund.
Of course, the general soon restored that lost stripe, and Wally continued his duties as morale builder.
I’ll bet every man in the 110 Military Police Platoon remembers that demotion ceremony in Stuttgart, Germany, 44 years ago.
James Lee Hutchinson is a member of “Writer’s Block,” a writing club that meets monthly at the Mitchell Community Public Library. He is the author of “Through These Eyes: A World War II Eighth Air Force Combat Diary.”