Operation Stinky

Story, first published: Galaxy Science Fiction, April 1957

A skunk-like alien takes a shine to an old drunken bum Asa, who lives near an Air Force base. The alien turns Asa's old car into a flying machine, naturally arousing the attention of the local flyboys. The military promptly seizes the alien in the name of national security to employ his superior talents on a spaceship project. Stinky helps them the spaceship, then takes off for home, leaving the Air Force with egg on its face.

Ewald, Robert J.: When the Fires Burn High and the Wind is from the North, p.56-57