A new, impossibly green recruit reported for duty earlier this week, stepping off the bus from his hometown of Stephens City, Virginia, and joining the ranks of his esteemed peers in the armed forces.
His name is Chesty. He is a nine-week-old English Bulldog.
But before he can assume his duties as the official United States Marine Corps mascot, Chesty must survive a relentless boot camp, a hell-on-earth struggle that will test his resolve and bring him face to face with his worst fears — he’ll go to obedience school, in other words.
“After obedience school and recruit training, the young puppy will earn the title Marine, joining the ranks of his well-known predecessors,” the Marine Corps said on its website.
Those predecessors include 13 other Bulldogs named Chesty, all of whom are named after the late Lt. Gen. Lewis “Chesty” Puller, one of the most decorated officers in the history of the Marine Corps. The post — mascot — goes back to World War I, when our boys, responding to the German habit of calling Marines ‘teufel-hunden,’ or devil dogs, created a U.S. Marine recruiting poster with a snarling English Bulldog wearing a Marine Corps helmet.
After the poster with a Bulldog, the Marines set about getting an actual Bulldog, according to author Marion F. Sturkey, who wrote Warrior Culture of the U.S. Marines.
“At the Marine base at Quantico, Virginia, the Marines obtained a registered English Bulldog, King Bulwark. In a formal ceremony on 14 October 1922, Brig. Gen. Smedley D. Butler signed documents enlisting the bulldog, renamed Jiggs, for the ‘term of life.’ Pvt. Jiggs then began his official duties in the U.S. Marine Corps.”
He was later renamed Chesty, after the famed Chesty Puller, and the naming tradition stuck.
As for this Chesty, his duties will include marching in the Friday Evening Parades and supporting various events around the National Capitol Region, according to the Marine Corps’ website.
That is, after he gets into fighting shape.
“We do like what we do with regular recruits, our human recruits,” said Captain John Norton, according to Fox 59 News. “We’re going to take a good civilian and we’re going to make him a little bit better and turn him into a U.S. Marine.”
Via Fox 59 News