75 Years Ago: Meet the World War II Mascots

Whether it's a bulldog, an eagle, or a horned toad who went AWOL to give birth to 14 little toads, the Army's mascots boosted morale during World War II.

U.S. WWII soldier sleeps next to a tiger cub.
(Ivan Dmitri)

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The news coming out of World War II was often grim, but every once in a while, The Saturday Evening Post found a way to lighten the mood. This article from our June 19, 1943, issue shared the stories of animal mascots that were keeping soldiers company during the war. From Randolph Field’s bulldog, Boots, to the Las Vegas Army Gunnery School’s horned toad, Machine-Gun Pete (later renamed Petricia after some toad babies showed up), these companions found themselves stowing away on transports, jumping out of planes, and even occasionally earning a military promotion. Many of them (mostly dogs) brought the soldiers moments of joy and levity, and maybe something more. As the authors write, “Whatever the animal, it’s the fighting man’s symbol of home and the things he’s fighting for.”

The first page for the article "Meet the Mascots" from an old issue of the Saturday Evening Post
Read “Meet the Mascots” by Jane and Woodrow Wirsig, from the June 19, 1943, issue of The Saturday Evening Post.

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