Operation Baghdad Pups

You may remember the story of Sgt Gwen Beberg and her dog Ratchet :woof: :




Well, it had a successful outcome & Ratchet :woof: is now home with Sgt Beberg's family in Minnesota. :pdt34::clappin:


Operation Baghdad Pups still needs help. They've started "No Buddy Gets Left Behind" to help save other pets befriended by our troops. A great cause! I know my Dad would've given anything if his dog :woof: "Sally" could've come home with in '45. She was with him from Anzio to France & a real good buddy!

Besides donations, they need things like collars, dishes, leashes, toys,etc.


Here's the website and "wish list":




Mary Ann, when you stated


I know my Dad would've given anything if his dog grommit.gif "Sally" could've come home with in '45. She was with him from Anzio to France & a real good buddy!


It made me think of my buddy Carl. Here are some excerpts from his diary, regarding Chalky:



The 10th, 11th & 12th- enemy planes were still getting through occasionally bombing and strafing. On the 14th we, Reg HQ, came down and moved into the town of Licata . We have eighteen units attached to us as we are operating the beach, docks and all the supply dumps. As the signal company is still with us that leaves the communication guys with no job, but they found some for us. Some good and some bad. I got a good one. We are doing all the hiring of civilians to work for us and they have me working on that. It’s a day and night job and the only time I get back to the bivouacked area is to eat and sleep. A number of the Italians speak English, as some of them have lived in the US and then came back here. Most of them were from Cleveland . The good thing about the job is that I have a pass to go anywhere, as most of the town is of limit to GI’s so that gets me to a lot of places. The food is great here and I am not talking about the food the kitchen serves, but about all the fresh fruit here. I’m just stuffing myself with all kinds of fruit, grapes, plums, watermelon, cantaloupes, etc. What a treat. I have adopted a puppy. She is all white with one brown ear and looks like a fox terrier. Have named her Chalky. Things are going well on the island as the forces that landed here and at Gela, on this side of the island, have advance north and are in Palermo . The British aren’t doing as well. They landed on the south east coast of Sicily and were pushing up the east coast to take Messina, but have had tough going and have only reached Cantania. All the guys have got their hands on the Italian tents which are larger then ours and mated them with what we have. Now we have very comfortable tents to live in with room to move around inside. More good news. Mussolini has fled Italy and a General Badoglio has taken over but says that Italy will continue to fight with the Germans. But then we hear that the Italian people do not want to continue the fight and want to surrender. Maybe they will win out and we won’t have to go into Italy to continue the war here.




Sicily Italy & Bizerte Tunisia Africa, August, 1943


Our forces are pushing the Germans back towards Messina. Patton pushing east from Palermo and the British have broken out from Catania and pushing north. August 18th- the battle for Sicily is over. For days the Germans have been evacuating their troops and equipment across the Strait of Messina into Italy and our troops are in Messina. Aug 21st- the 36th left Sicily to go back to Africa and back to the Bizerte area. It was a better trip back, as the ship was larger, a LST, and the sea was calm. We landed and were truck to a bivouacked in the hills outside of Bizerta where we spent the night under the stars. Our tents and bed rolls never showed up. Put Chalky in my jacket to keep us both warm. Here we have being changed from Amphibious Engineers to Combat Engineers and getting a change in equipment. So, it’s at the front from now on for the 36th. Also we have been assigned to the Fifth Army and attached to the VI Corps. They say this is the big landing and it’s going to be in Italy. We have been changed from D+2 to D, not good. This place is crowded with troops, both American and British. The harbor is full of ships, Navy ships, transports, and landing ships of all types. We have been moved down to the water edge, ready to board ships. The 31st- British troops have been pouring down from the hills to join us here at the harbor. All our equipment has been packed loaded on trucks and sent down to be loaded aboard ships. All we have now is what we are carrying on us.




The 11th- we finally got off the ship and on to the beach. Hiked five miles inland and made camp. Our battalions and line companies are up at the front. The 3rd battalion is on the line as infantry and the rest are repairing and building roads and bridges at the front. Had to bring up a radio to the 3rd battalion one day and spent a number of hours with them before I was able to get back. The 3rd was relived after six days on the line. Another of our battalions, the 2nd, was called upon to do infantry work and was on the line for 4 days. H&S is bivouacked near an airport and we are not getting much sleep nights, as the Germans are coming over to bomb the field. The rear echelon arrived finally along with the kitchen and Chalky.




Jan 22nd Anzio, Italy 1944


We landed at the port of Anzio without to much opposition, as the port had been shelled and bombed and the Germans had pulled out of there. Before dawn, H Co had landed with the Rangers to clear the port for the landing. There were not many civilians either, as the Germans had kicked them out. South of us at Nettuno they had landed on the beaches there and were advancing inland. Last night it was the Germans turn to shell us with a terrific barrage. A bunch of us were huddled in a basement of a house hoping that the house would not get hit. It did, as well as houses around us, but ours survived better than some and other than dust and debris no one was injured. Funny story, if anything is funny in war.


When the people that were here left, they put their furniture in the basement. All the time we have been overseas we have been living in pup tents and so we thought we would live it up. My buddies and I brought the furniture up from the basement and fixed up a room on the second floor with beds, chairs and tables. We were going to find out how it was to sleep in a bed. Well, that lasted two nights, as when the shelling or bombing started we headed down to the basement. But, we ended up sleeping on beds because we set them up in the basement. They have cut down on their shelling, but doing more dive bombing. We are half mile from the port and near the railroad line and so we are catching our share of the bombs. Within a radius of 500 yards of us there has been six fellows killed and a lot of injured. Butler from communication was one of those killed. You could always count on Jerry to come over at dawn, sometime during the day, dusk and nights. For all his trips he is not doing too much damage, as everything is in ruins anyhow and he is losing planes. One day I saw six of his planes come over and not one returned. Two went down by anti aircraft fire and our planes shot down the rest. The first follow-up came in today, the 26th, and also Chalky. About Chalky, she is my dog, but the whole outfit keeps an eye on her and tries to keep her out of harms ways. But she is no dummy. She is experience under fire. She runs for cover when we start taking fire and ends up with someone either calling her into his foxhole, or she finds the closest one herself.




Anzio March 1944


March 25- we were relived this date. I don’t know how true this is, but they say that the 36th set a record of 45 straight days on the line with out any relief and they said that not any Infantry regiment had ever done that. March 26- Today was clean up day and boy did we need it. While at the front I occasionally washed my face, hands and feet, but that was all that saw water and soap. Like all the rest of the guys you didn’t smell so good and boy was that shower great. All the cloths we had were thrown away and we were issued new ones. Chalky was happy to see me even in my stinking cloths. I grew a mustache and beard while I up there, but was told to shave it off. You don’t realize until the replacements start to come in how many men were killed or wounded. We have had 400 replacements so far and more to come. What a change has taken place with the towns of Anzio and Nettuno. It was a little shot up when we first landed, but now those two towns are in ruins from the constant shelling and bombing that they have taken with bomb and shell craters all over the place. The Germans have a couple of railroad guns that they run in and out of caves in the mountains shelling the beachhead and we have not been able to knock them out. I have heard them and thank goodness none have landed in any area I was in, as they sound like a freight train coming in.




June 23 – We have a new CO. He is Colonel Mark M. Boater. He arrived just in time to join the regiment for a long move back to Naples . Naples - I don’t like that town, as that is where we set off for our last landing in Anzio and if it is another landing it will the fifth for the men of the 36th. All the regiment is going in one long convoy, traveling at night and resting days. June 24 – After a miserable all night ride, 13 men to a truck, Chalky being the only comfortable one, we arrived at the Littoria airport where we stopped for the day. Got some sleep in the morning, game of softball in the evening and the rest of the time playing porker where I relieved the guys of $70.




July, Italy 1944


July- Not going to put in dates all the time while we are in camp, as it’s the same thing most of the time. I am not complaining as we are living it up with this camp life. The chow has been wonderful since we got down here. We have fresh meat at least once a day, pastry all the time, ice cream often and except for the coffee all our drinks are iced. Doesn’t get better than that. We even have benches and tables to eat our meals. Nights we have movies and occasionally we have a band or a show to listen to and watch. It’s a sure thing now that that Chalky is going to have puppies, as she is swelling up more as the days go by. She better have a dozen for all the request I have had for them. July 4th- We celebrate the fourth here by getting paid this day. Not going to put anything in my soldier’s deposit account this time, as I have another landing coming up. I’ll spend it on “wine. women and song.” I manage to get into Naples and the surrounding country side every other day or so in my trips to the signal dump or repair. So, I am not stuck in camp and get to see different things. Naples I get in and out of that place in a hurry as it holds nothing for me, as I have seen it so many times. July 14- Pop fixed us up a pretty good time last night. He got us a house on the beach, fixed us a great meal brought along his good liquor refreshments and women. Had a radio for dancing and the twelve of us that went certainly had a good time. Well, I was due the way I had been living it up, and got stuck with water proofing our communication vehicle for the landing. I had been assigned to drive it for the landing and the guy that drives it, waterproofs it. It’s a dirty job and as all the fellows in communication drove it, I talked them into helping me. July 17th- Left early in the morning for the staging area outside of Naples. As we won’t leave today to load aboard the ships I went back to camp. Put on my OD’s and took off for Naples along with everyone else that’s here. Next time I see Chalky, I hope, she will have had her puppies. Had left her with Steff and Ed and I won’t see her have her puppies and how she acts with them. July 19th- Wrote this the 26th. This morning started feeling terrible, chills, headaches and running a temperature. Ended up going to the hospital with a 104 temperature. Had malaria. What a week that was getting over the malaria. Chills, fever, sweating, the shakes and big headaches. The good side was when I was getting over it and could enjoy the good food and lying in a bed on a mattress. Did alright playing poker while there. Won myself a nice watch and some money. July 31st- Left the hospital today and returned to my outfit. Chalky was sure glad to see me and she hadn’t had her puppies. Guess she was waiting for me to get back before she had them.




August, 1944 Italy


Aug. 4th- Chalky had her puppies’ today-six of them, all colors. Steff won the pool as to the number of puppies she would have. She is so cute with them, always cleaning them up and if she has to leave them she hurries right back. No other dog gets into the headquarter area now, as she runs them right out. Aug. 6th- The army has a saying-“Do not volunteer for anything” and it’s so true. I had volunteered to be a dispatch rider while in camp and was enjoying getting out of camp with that job riding the motorcycle. Then it turned bad. Was told that I was no longer the driver of the communication vehicle, and come in later, but that I would be a dispatch rider for the landing and that’s not good. After the landing and they send you out and you don’t know what’s down the road. So, I wasn’t looking forward to this landing. I’m kicking myself for not listening to that advice of not volunteer for anything. [Last entry in my journal] Aug. 7th- From this date on I had to depend on my memory and notes I took while hospitalized. Got the order today to go down and load aboard a LST for the landing. I never made it, as the motorcycle I was riding collided with a jeep coming the other way on a narrow dirt road and ended up in a hospital. I don’t remember whose fault it was, as all I remember was seeing that jeep at the last second and couldn’t avoid it. Next thing I remembered was waking up in that hospital with my leg in a cast and they told me that my knee cap was so badly damage that they had to remove it. Aug. 15th- Hear that the landing was in Southern France and that things were going OK. Aug. 18th- They started bringing in the wounded from the landing today. I had an end bed and they were coming down and going around it so I could see the guys they were bringing in. Then I recognized one of them and asked to talk to him. It was Antonuccio, the H&S bike rider and he and I were going to be on the same ship for the landing. Asked him what happen to him and he told me that as they went in for the landing the ship was hit and there were a lot of wounded and dead. Lucked out again, as that accident kept me from being on that ship and who knows what would have happened to me. Notes from the hospital- Thought the happiest day of my life was when I got home, but it was the day my leg stopped paining me. Between the leg hurting and getting a shot of penicillin every three hours I wasn’t getting much sleep. Towards the end of the month, August, they took the cast off and I tried to get up, but couldn’t. Got some crutches after that and then I could stand up which got me out of that bed. That was another good day. Oh yes, another happy day was when I was told they would not have to have my knee aspirated anymore. Three times I had that done without pain shots. They would have to hold me down, as the doctor would stick this long needle into my sore knee to get the pus and blood out. Man did it hurt.




Carl was sent home soon after, and didn't make the invasion of Southern France. Here are his comments on the fate of Chalky.




I have mentioned a dog by the name of Chalky in my journal and for you who wondered what happen to Chalky I would like to tell you.When I found out from Stef, after I had been home for awhile, I was devastated and just couldn't put in my journal at the time. I had dogs all my life and having Chalky over there sharing what I was going through made her even more special to me. She followed me around all the time, slept in the pup tent with me and shared foxholes with me. I felt bad and wondered what she though when she was left with strangers and what happen to her after being left with them. The story Stef told me when I enquired about her was that she was left behind on the landing in France. Stef had left her with the last group from our outfit that was to come in. We had never had any trouble before on land or sea with her coming with us. But, this time the ship they were going to load on also had Moroccan soldiers going on board. As usual the had their food supply with them, goats, chickens and other animals. When the captain of that ship saw that, he said no animals on board this ship and would not even let Chalky get on. So, she was left with some soldiers that were stationed there. And, I often wondered what she thought about being left behind and never saw me or any of the other fellows she had grown up with again. It just tore me up, and even now, when I think about it.




Man, that breaks my heart too!






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.jpg   Carl_and_Chalkie_Italy.jpg (Size: 28.89 KB / Downloads: 0)
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.jpg   Chalkie_and_pups.jpg (Size: 10.89 KB / Downloads: 0)
.jpg   Chalkie_and_Steff.jpg (Size: 8.67 KB / Downloads: 0)
.jpg   Chalkie__s_Pups.jpg (Size: 16.81 KB / Downloads: 0)
Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"

"Chalky was happy to see me even in my stinking clothes"


Unconditional love. There surely has to be a special place in God's heaven for creatures like "Chalky" & "Sally" that gave that love when it was so badly needed.


Thank you for sharing Carl's story Marion!


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