© 2024 | Jefferson Public Radio
Southern Oregon University
1250 Siskiyou Blvd.
Ashland, OR 97520
541.552.6301 | 800.782.6191
Listen | Discover | Engage a service of Southern Oregon University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Chipmunk-Chasing Dog Becomes War Hero


A chipmunk-chasing fox terrier named Two-Bits became a World War II hero.

In the winter of 1942-43, Two-Bits lived with his owner in a fire lookout perched above a cliff on 6,497-foot Whiskey Peak in the Rogue River National Forest.  The Army Air Corps was using the fire-lookout as part of its Aircraft Warning Service.  The lookout, Bill Zeigler, scanned the skies for enemy aircraft while Two-Bits chased chipmunks.

Historian Jeff LaLand relates the story:

“By February, the abundant snow on the summit had formed an icy cornice that overhung … (the 600-foot) … precipice. One day, Two-Bits charged the rodents with too much vigor, sliding across the ice and over the cliff.  Zeigler … was surprised to see Two-Bits back at the lookout about a week later. Apparently having landed in a deep snowbank, Two-Bits had managed to crawl and limp his way up to the summit. Two-Bits took the same plunge a few weeks later … but again the dog appeared at the top of Whisky Peak.”

The Medford Mail-Tribune and other newspapers across the country hailed Two-Bits as a war hero and canine symbol of Home Front “stolidity and determination.”

Sources: LaLande, Jeff. "Two-Bits the World War II Lookout Dog." The Oregon Encyclopedia. Portland State University and Oregon Historical Society, 2014. Web. 11 Dec. 2014. http://www.oregonencyclopedia.org/articles/two_bits_the_world_war_ii_lookout_dog/#.VIn51jd0ypo;  "Whiskey Peak Lookout." SMS. Sand Mountain Society, Web. 11 Dec. 2014. http://sandmountain.org/learn/about-sms/fire-lookout-restorations/whisky-peak-lookout.

Kernan Turner is the Southern Oregon Historical Society’s volunteer editor and coordinator of the As It Was series broadcast daily by Jefferson Public Radio. A University of Oregon journalism graduate, Turner was a reporter for the Coos Bay World and managing editor of the Democrat-Herald in Albany before joining the Associated Press in Portland in 1967. Turner spent 35 years with the AP before retiring in Ashland.