"Stuka Day" May 18th, 2024

Thank you to the staff of The National Museum of the United States Air Force for allowing our group to get this after-hours group photo!

Stuka was the "mascot" of the crew of the Famous WWII B-17 Bomber 'Memphis Belle' and was purchased by Captain James Verinis, the Memphis Belle co-pilot, from a London pet shop. Capt. Verinis gave the name of "Stuka" to this frisky little Scottish Terrier girl puppy. Has a celebration of Capt. Verinis and Stuka.


"Stuka Day" was a BIG success with 60+ people and 44 Scotties attending from Noon to 5:30 on May 18th, 2024 at The National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton.  Some families came from over 500 miles away to attend.  We heard from many that they loved the socializing, the various presentations, the parade and the BIG Scottie that greeted them on arrival.  We also had more than half of the Scotties in attendance provide blood samples for the Scottish Terrier Club of America's HTF DNA Bank to help with future research to benefit our beloved breed. Thanks to our volunteer vet techs, Katy Meade, Lacey Johnson, Krystan McLean for the help for this very important cause.

As Stuka Day attendees arrived to the Musuem parking lot, they began to hear in the distance the playing of Bagpiper Ryan Hartman and as they approached the event area, were greeted by our nine foot tall inflatable Scottie.


The appeared that the bagpipes stirred something deep in the souls of the Scotties.

The Day's Presenters

Our opening keynote presenter was Brian Cocker (pictured with wife Janet) as he shared the experience that he and their Scottish Terrier "Bentley" had portraying Stuka for the Memphis Belle restoration unveiling week in 2018.

He and Bentley actually got to fly in the replica Memphis Belle that was made for the movie as it was on hand for the festivities.  The restoration team quickly made a replica of Stuka's "uniform" that Bentley wore during the week as Brian and Bentley's participation was not planned and they just showed up on the first day.  The museum owns the replica uniform and were gracious enough to let the Cocker's borrow it for Stuka Day for all to enjoy.  You will find in the gallery below photos their Scottie "Thistle" wearing it during Stuka Day.

Our main speaker was Diane Kendig, author, poet, a winner of a National Endowment for the Humanities, a Fulbright, and two Ohio Arts Council awards. Diane had with her husband Paul Beauvais and their two Afterglow Scotties, Rennie and Rebus. Diane's father served as a tail gunner on a B-17 in the 100th Bomb Group and shared many stories of his time as such.  In addtion to sharing about what life was like as a crew member, she also shared what he told her about when his commanders had the crews visit the Nazi concentration camps so they could "understand what they had been fighting for."  It was a very touching and informative presentation.  She did also share that her father took many photos from his position from the rear of the plane and made enough from the sale of them that he was able to buy land and the materials to buld their family home.  He built it himself!

Our closing keynote speaker was John Heffner of History and Relics LLC.  He provided details about the War Bond Tour of the Memphis Belle when she came to Ohio with her crew.  In researching potential presenters, we had found that John had information about Stuka and the Memphis Belle that we had not found anywhere else and were thrilled when he said he and his wife Dana would join us for the day. 

For those that could not attend or want to revisit his presentation, you can watch it on YouTube at the link below:


The Memphis Belle, Cleveland, Ohio, & The Romance That Ended On The War Bond Tour 1943

Geiger shared the Purdue Scottie Cancer study and the dangers of second hand smoke, pesticides and herbicides.  Here is a recipe for a natural herbicide.  One attendee sent info about another cancer study currently being done at The North Carolina State College of Veterinary Medicine that has developed a method for detecting canine cancer in urine and is currently looking for Scottie participants. Geiger also presented information provided by the puppy mill awareness group Bailing Out Benji on puppy mills masquerading as rescue organizations and also how to find a reputable breeder. Info about the importance of DNA testing of dogs for breeding and the OFA CHIC Program. Deny Marshall and Cheryl Bates from the Dayton Scottie Club Rescue provided details to attendees on working with a Scottie rescue group. LeeAnn Whaley and Tracy Krapf provided information about all the things that Scottie owners can do through AKC that can be so fun for Scotties and Monty The Therapy Dog's work in the community.

The family of Capt. James Verinis is provided some unique family pictures in their collection that were on display.


Several people won copies from the family's personal collection of the now out-of-print children's coloring book, "Stuka! The Mascot of the Memphis Belle" written and illustrated by Capt. Verinis' son, James Jr. in support of the event! Contact us for information to order a copy of your own.


Thank you Verinis Family!

A big thanks to Cozy Coats for Pets and their donation of a kilt for one lucky Scottie, "Barney" owned by Tim and Elizabeth Otte.


Many Scotties in attendence were modeling kilts from Louisa at Cozy Coats and all of the handouts for ordering kilts were taken and we still had more inquiries.  For those interested, you can get details to order kilts from their Facebook page.


Thank you Louisa!

There were three lucky winners of the author-signed editions of Masters of The Air by author and historian Donald L. Miller that serves as the basis for the hit series on Apple TV+ by the same name.


Thank you Dr. Miller for your generosity!

Special thanks to professional freelance photographer, and Scottie lover, Tom Gilliam for many of the day's pictures and for the group photo at the Memphis Belle exhibit.

Tom Gilliam Photography

Also, special thanks to Heidi from Bailing out Benji for their lovely booth and information that was used during the presentations.  Their organization is doing wonderful things to expose the puppy mill to pet store pipeline, the methods that puppy mills are using to skirt recent legislation attempts to close them down, and how to find a reputable breeder.

Additional Resources discussed during the day:

  1. The outtakes from William Wyler's 1943 movie "The Memphis Belle" - click here
  2. The page for the Apple+ TV series "Masters of the Air"- click here
  3. HBO/MAX "The Cold Blue" about director Wyler's making of the 1943 movie with upscated video and scenes with Stuka - click here
  4. Where to purchase the book "Masters of the Air" by Donald Miller - click here
  5. The Smithsonian Channels short video "How This War Bond Tour Raised U.S. Morale" - click here
  6. RECOMMENDED "Memphis Belle: Her Final Mission" an hour long documentary about the Belle's history and restoration - click here
  7. RECOMMENDED "The Truth About the Memphis Belle (No Hollywood)" more history of the plane and crew - click here
  8. The Scotties even got a some airtime on the local Dayton news broadcast - click here

A sampling of what attendees said they enjoyed about the day:

"Loved, loved, loved the Bagpiper Ryan.  We heard him from the parking lot and our excitement started to build right away.  It was so fun having him lead our parade.  Well done!"

"Socializing-- a lot, parade, presentations (the Smithsonian video was a huge revelation!), group photos, the cake, the swag (dog tags and red pins especially, but also name tags), the BIG box of dog biscuits, water, the cookies, the setting (a lot of trees for a warm day), museum access (including bathrooms), a tent!! chairs!! Matt!"
"Socializing, big scottie at entrance, group photo"
"The presentations were Great. We learned alot. You guys did a great job!"

"We enjoyed all the presentations and cannot believe how filled with activities the day was!  Congratulations on a successful event.   Personally I liked the story about Bently's portrayal of Stuka and the story about "My Father the b-17 tailgunner"

"Thank you so much for all that you did to make this event a success!"

"We were talking on the ride back home about something pretty darn great.  We spent a day with about 100 people who were smiling from ear to ear for at least 4 hours.  That’s 100 people whose lives are better, happier and enriched because of the outstanding companion dogs that you both brought into the world.  You two are creating one heck of a legacy!"
"Meeting other Scottie Family's, learning health related information about Scotties, Prizes were amazing!, Group Photo was so much fun too!"
"I loved having a Scottie themed day to meet with others and provide a new adventure for Archie. The local Scottie group where I live does not really have any events other than a fun match and yearly dinner, so opportunity to talk to other Scots owners is not easily accessible to me.  Location was great for me. Wish I had gotten a photo of the big blowup doggie!  I very much appreciated there was a tent to provide shade as I'm very sun sensitive.  I also appreciate the generosity of the museum to allow the event and the group photo. The presentations were very enjoyable.  It was great to learn some WWII history that I didn't know about or didn't know many details.  The variety of presentations was a good mix of history and dog-oriented themes."

"The Puppy Mill and Bad Breeder [presentations] were useful"

"Being around the Scotties. Everybody was smiling & was so nice. You could feel the love in the air. When I look back one day later in my life, this day will always be one that I will remember for how much fun I had. The Socialization with others was so beneficial in learning their life with their Scotties from how they acquired them to how they act to what they feed them… so much fun & relevant information that I can use with my puppy to ensure he will be my forever companion. The parade is something that was really enjoyable."

"Presentation I thought were very interesting & informative. Well done by the presenters."
"What a way to end a beautiful day & have it taken in front on the “Memphis Belle” & for Lisa & Geiger to allow me to hold their precious puppy, not sure there could be a better ending."
"As each winner picked up their prizes, you could see on their faces how happy they were. Not sure I remember the last time I won something or win something in the future will be hard to top my prize. So thankful to have received it."
"Presentations were very good. Being a WWII history buff, this appealed to me. Enjoyed Bentleys portrayal especially the ride in the B-17. Watching so many movies depicting the B-17, I thought the presentation about her father made it so much more insightful & personal. They are the reason that I enjoy my freedom today."
"I enjoyed the presentation of Bad v Good Breeder as it made us think as to where to get a Westie puppy later this year."
"Can’t say enough about seeing the “Memphis Belle” other than WOW! Overall, the presentations all added something to the event to make it more enjoyable if that was even possible. Every presentation seemed to fit perfectly with the days activities."
"Everyone from the hosts to the owners were so gracious  & nice. Saturday was a very good place to spend the day."

"We were trying to think of the best way to sum up Stuka Day and what both of you did to bring it to life.  The best word is “thoughtful”.  Everything that we experienced – the bagpiper-led scottie parade, the presentations, the information that was shared and the group photo were all created for the sole benefit of the people, and the dogs, who were there.  It was clear that you put careful thought, and execution, into everything.   In the past week, we have put some of what we heard into action.   We took Angus into his vet and requested a bladder scan.  Angus has a healthy and smooth bladder.  Also, the kids now get chopped fresh spinach mixed in with their food as well as treats of fresh and leafy carrots.  Again, thank you so very much!!"



Thanks to all of our volunteers that made this day happen.  We could not have done it without your help!

Some videos from the day

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The Photo Gallery

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