Throughout the centuries many ships have had mascots – cats, dogs, monkeys, parrots – and during World War II there was a profusion of them. Many were adopted as part of the ship’s crew, but none ever achieved Sinbad’s stature or lasting fame. His fame extended to sailors of all countries whose ships plied the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea and spread ashore to U.S. cities far inland.
It all started on a winter’s evening in late 1937, when Blackie and his friend Ed Maillard returned from liberty to the USCGC Campbell (WPG-32) in Staten Island, New York. Blackie was carrying a small gym bag. Quietly, the two men made their way down to the berthing area, trying not to attract attention, because the bag held a husky black and tan mutt with white eyebrows. The next morning, barking alerted the other men to what Blackie had brought on board. Named “Sinbad” by the Campbell’s salty crew, he quickly became one of them.