From inside the archives we meet Lady Moe. While some servicemen were known for adopting local dogs and cats, the 96th Bomb Group found another pet to take under their wings.
In August 1943, a crew from the 96th Bomb Group acquired a malnourished 50 pound donkey during their time in North Africa after flying the Regensburg shuttle mission. The donkey, who the men named Lady Moe, survived the journey and experienced her first combat mission when the crew bombed Bordeaux, France, en route to England.
After the plane landed at Snetterton Heath, base of the 96th Bomb Group, Lady Moe became famous among the rest of the servicemen, who took great care of her. She enjoyed eating cigarettes and food from the mess hall, and spent her days roaming freely around the base.
She joined ground crews and support personnel as they anxiously waited for B-17s to return from missions. As a foal with a gentle personality and soft coat, she bunked with servicemen in their barracks. She quickly grew into a 150 pound shaggy coated creature with an ornery temper, according to a March 1944 article in the Stars and Stripes newspaper.
Although she lived a pampered life, Lady Moe also had a duty to perform. She appeared as a featured guest at public relations and charity events in England, where children and adults lavished attention and treats onto her. Newspaper and magazine circulations published numerous articles about her exploits on and off the base.
Lady Moe also made an appearance in V-J Day celebrations at Snetterton Heath in August 1945, where she remained after the war. On 3 October 1945 Lady Moe’s life came to a tragic end when she was hit by a train after she wandered onto a railroad track. Her death was reported in several newspapers to the shock of the men who cared for her. She was buried at the base. In the years after the war, the men of the 96th Bomb Group remembered her fondly, whether it was a shared cigarette or avoiding her teeth in their attempts to pet her.