Webster County

Pvt. Anver Habhab of Fort Dodge

Shorty in Ireland


Overseas ~ Dog With Troops

FORT DODGE, IA. – Pvt. Anver Habhab of Fort Dodge, who refused to be parted from his dog, “Shorty,” when he left here for the army 14 months ago, still has the pet with him – in northern Ireland.

Habhab took the dog, a Scotch terrier, to Camp Claiborne, La., and kept the animal with him when Iowa troops were transferred to Fort Dix, N.J.

At Fort Dix, he delayed sending “Shorty” home until embarkation orders made it impossible to return the dog to Fort Dodge. So, he smuggled the animal aboard the transport.

”Shorty” enjoyed the crossing and quickly acclimated himself to northern Ireland, Habhab writes. The soldier hopes to have the dog visit the home of his Scottish ancestors before the war ends.

Source: The Des Moines Evening Tribune, Des Moines, Iowa, May 01, 1942

Gammack Tells
Story of a Yank And His War Dog

SHORTY, A MOST UNUSUAL DOG, has traveled in Ireland, England, Africa and Italy; has been under fire at the battlefront; and has been smuggled aboard troop transport ships nine times.

Maybe you’ve heard about this globe-trotting Scotty who was taken to war by his devoted master, Pvt. Anver Habhad, Syrian-born American of Fort Dodge and a Purple Heart veteran of the famous 34th division.

Tales about Habhab and Shorty are endless. With Habhab on leave, you can catch a glimpse of his fabulous dog around Fort Dodge these days. He’s easy to identify because tied to his harness are: 34th shoulder patch, the combat infantryman’s badge, the European theater ribbon with battle stars, the American theater ribbons with battle stars, the American theater ribbon, the ribbon signifying military service before Pearl Harbor (sometimes referred to disrespectfully as the “low draft number ribbon”), a hashmark for three years in the army and five overseas stripes.

Anver’s devotion for Shorty is such that he talks constantly of “he and I” doing this and than as if he were referring to another man. When he speaks of an army assignment, he says, “He and I guarded that gasoline plant in Ireland all the time.”

Even before the Fort Dodge veteran went overseas, 34th division officers were helping him with his campaign to take Shorty to war. Once Capt. Steve Manchester of Fort Dodge told Anver about the order forbidding the taking of dogs on ships but Habhab recalls that Steve smiled when he said that.

Habhab would smuggle Shorty aboard a ship and sometimes after the ship had been at sea an officer would learn of the dog’s illegal presence and would tell Anver, “You better get him off the way you got him on.”

Shorty usually was smuggled in a barracks bag but after Habhad was wounded and started making the rounds of hospitals and hospital ships he would lie on a litter, keeping very quiet and covered by the same blanket which covered his master.

In most hospitals, Shorty has been a welcome guest. When Habhab was transferred from Rome to a Naples hospital, the Red Cross saw that Shorty made the trip, too, and a nurse said: “That bed next to you is empty – let Shorty sleep there.”

Anver had Shorty with him at Anzio. The dog went through numerous air raids and sometimes went with Anver to frontline posts. “Sometimes he’d growl a little but I’d talk to him and tell him he had to be quiet and he would. He knew what the score was,” said Habhab.

Habhab was wounded near Leghorn in Italy and was taken to Rome. When his company came out of the lines, Shorty looked for him and was upset when he didn’t appear.

”The other boys told him what had happened and they thought he understood,” he recalled.

Shortly after that Lieut. Col. Bruno Marchi of Fort Dodge, Habhab’s battalion commander, came to Anver’s rescue. He ordered a driver to take Shorty on a 200-mile trip and deliver the Scotty to his hospitalized master.

Habhab’s arm was broken badly above the elbow when he was wounded. For months he was in a “body cast” but now his arm is held outstretched by a long splint. It will be months before he’ll be able to throw the splint away.

He thinks sometime he’ll write a book and if he does, he’s going to call it “Forever Anver.”

Source: Gammack, Gordon. The Des Moines Evening Tribune, Des Moines, Iowa, July 27, 1945

It’s Taps for Pvt. Shorty, Canine Vet of Anzio Battle

They put a little, bright-eyed wiggle-tailed war veteran to sleep the other day.

It was taps for Shorty, the Scottish terrier who put in half his 12 years in the infantry and in hospitals with his master, Pvt. Anver Habhab, Fort Dodge.

Shorty was only three in 1941 when he trotted off to Camp Claiborne, La., with Habhab, a member of Company G of the Iowa national guard from Fort Dodge.

He spent a lot of time in Habhab’s barracks bag to avoid port officers in Ireland and North Africa, and he went through 60 days of the hell of Anzio in foxholes.

Shorty didn’t mind the screeching shells; he just flattened out beside Habhab. But he didn’t like air raids, and cuddled up beside Habhab when he heard a plane coming. He always was waiting, however, when his master came back from the front lines.

Ashes Taken Home.

Maybe it was shell shock or combat fatigue – or time. But they blew taps for Shorty the other day. He was sick, and didn’t like loud noises.

Now his ashes are back home with Habhab’s brother, Shaffee, and his wife, in Detroit. They are in an urn, which has a place of honor, but Shorty is alive in their hearts, for they raised him for a puppy in Fort Dodge.

Habhab manages the 34th Division club in Fort Dodge.

Shorty learned to be as sturdy a foot-slogger as any many in the 34th division. At first, his legs would tire and Habhab had to add him to his pack on marches.

In North Africa, Shorty mounted guard, and Habhab insisted he knew all the uniforms. Shorty met Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower and got a commending pat for duty well done.

Smuggled Into Hospital.

When Shorty and Habhab hit the beach at Anzio, the dog learned to dig in with his master, and he really made the dirt fly. When Habhab’s unit came back after 20 days at the front, Shorty was there to welcome the company.

After Habhab was wounded, a Red Cross worker and officer finally smuggled Shorty into the hospital. When Habhab’s hospital convoy reached Percy Jones general hospital in Battle Creek, Mich., an admitting room sergeant got the shock of his life when he pulled
Back the blanket to find Shorty curled at the feet of the new patient. Shorty and Habhab were discharged in 1947

And now there is the urn and beside it, Shorty’s harness that Habhab made in the hospital.

On it are Habhab’s Silver Star, Purple Heart, Combat infantryman’s badge, campaign ribbons with two battle starts, overseas service strips, lucky six-pence piece, dog tag with his army serial and APO numbers, date of enlistment – and, of course, his Good Conduct medal.

Source:  The Wright County Monitor, Clarion, Iowa, April 08, 1948