HARTFORD, Conn. – More than 75 military personnel, their families, Veterans and members of the community convened at the William A. O’Neill Armory for a showing of, “Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero,” Oct. 27.
With a large projector screen constructed on the drill shed floor, attendees were encouraged to bring comfortable chairs, blankets and whatever comforts they needed to enjoy the nearly 90-minute feature animated film telling the story of the Connecticut National Guard’s most famous four-legged mascot.
Prior to the movie’s screening, Jordan Beck, who portrayed the voice/role of Elmer Olsen, welcomed the crowd and took questions. Not only was Beck a voice actor, but he is also the production company’s Chief Operations Officer, as well as a Georgia National Guardsman.
Maj. Gen. Fran Evon, Adjutant General and Commander of the Connecticut National Guard, also welcomed the crowd, relaying the importance of Sgt. Stubby, the 102nd Infantry Regiment and Veterans Day. Evon served as commander of the 1-102nd Infantry Regiment during its last overseas deployment in 2011.
At the conclusion of the movie, Evon asked former members of the 102nd to join him in the front, as well as Beck ,and unveiled a brand new statue of Sgt. Stubby that will forever remain on display at the State Armory. The real Stubby resides at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., and Evon wanted to commemorate the Connecticut National Guard’s role in World War I through its most famous member.
Steve MacSweeney, President of the 102nd Regimental Association and former commander of Alpha Company, 1-102nd Infantry Regiment, was honored to be part of Stubby’s unveiling, and said that preserving Guard history in a visual fashion is a critical part of reaching future generations of Guardsmen.
“The Stubby story is a 102nd story and we are honored to share it in a film that will capture the hearts of current and future Soldiers,” MacSweeney said. “ Stubby is definitely the most famous veteran of the 102nd, but there are so many heroes and stories to tell, I hope this is just the beginning of a closer look at this historic unit.”
Those wishing to view the new, life-size statue will be able to see it in the lobby of the State Armory in the near future.