View Full Version : The Bulldog

05-13-05, 10:10 AM
Does anybody know how and when the Bulldog became connected with the United States Marine Corps?

05-13-05, 10:15 AM
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Corporal Chesty XI is the official mascot of Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C. The canine leatherneck is affectionately referred to as "Molly" by her fellow Marines at the "Oldest Post of the Corps." Molly gets her name from the term Molly Marines, the name given to the first women in the United States Marine Corps.

The brindle and white-colored pedigreed English bulldog enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps on August 24, 1995 during a ceremony at Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C.

The duties of this devil dog include serving as official mascot of Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C. and appearing weekly at the renowned Friday Evening Parades held at the Barracks during the summer months.

Her performance at the Barracks is part of a long tradition of English bulldogs as mascots for the Marine Corps. That tradition was believed to have its roots during World War I when German soldiers referred to the Marines as "Teufel Hunden" - Devil Dogs, comparing their fierce fighting ability to that of wild mountain dogs of Bavarian folklore. Soon afterward, a Marine recruiting poster painted by artist Charles B. Falls appeared depicting a dachshund, attired in a spiked helmet and Iron Cross, fleeing from an English bulldog wearing a helmet with the globe and anchor insignia. The inscription read, "Teufel Hunden - German nickname for U.S. Marines...Devil Dog Recruiting Station."

In an article published in the Washington Times-Herald, dated February 26, 1943, the following notice appeared: "Wanted - one English bulldog and he must be fierce looking - Two hundred Marines want a mascot that will look as tough as they really are and the English bulldog has it...These fighting men prefer that the dog be young enough so that they can teach him tricks. For example, he'll march with a band and will be turned out in a neat little uniform all his own."

Not long after that, Brigadier General Smedley D. Butler, then Commanding General of the Marine Barracks at Quantico carried the fledging tradition further by enlisting Private Jiggs into the Marine Corps on October 14, 1922 (See related story). Following Jiggs I's death, former heavyweight boxing champion James J. (Gene) Tunney, who had served with the Marines in France, continued the tradition by donating English bulldog Jiggs II to the Marine at Quantico. At the same time, the Royal Marines of Great Britain donated an English bulldog named Pagett, who was said to have been one of the top 20 English bulldogs in Great Britain at the time. Pagett traveled with the Marine baseball team, but had an early reputation of disciplinary infractions, such as "chasing a blonde stenographer down the hall," and "biting the hand that fed him," before succumbing to heat exhaustion in 1928.

By then public opinion had already formed what is now a strong association between the English bulldog and the Marine Corps.

It was in recognition of this tradition that the Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C. acquired Private First Class Chauncy, a khaki-colored English bulldog, on August 3, 1956. As in all traditions, however, the tale had a humble beginning. PFC Chauncy, who had not attended Ceremonial Drill School, was not allowed to perform during ceremonies; he was merely a spectator. With no ceremonial drill training, Chauncy's only responsibility was to accompany the Commandant and the Barracks Commanding Officer into the stands to review the parade.

However, the tradition of English bulldog mascots at Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C. was begun. The official Barracks mascot that followed Chauncy, Chesty I, (named in honor of legendary Marine Lieutenant General Lewis "Chesty" Puller) was a part of the first Evening Parade held July 5, 1957. Chesty I, and his successors, became prominent participants with their strutting ceremonial strolls down Center Walk during the Friday Evening parades at the "Oldest Post of the Corps."

With their own Service Record Books and dress uniforms, the mascots are treated no differently than other barracks Marines. Well, almost.

When the time came for Chesty I to retire, the Barracks acquired a less disciplined replacement, Chesty II, who was constantly violating rules and regulations and had no respect for his superiors, was well followed by the local press and was forever displaying the capabilities of his multi-faceted personality. There's just no polite way to put it - Chesty II was a renegade. He was famous for chewing "Slim Jims" in formation, barking back and sticking his tongue out at superiors, and in general, behavior unbecoming of a United States Marine.

Yet, while all these things were unmilitary enough, one spring evening Chesty II outdid himself by going "over the hill." Chased by a corporal and two privates, he streaked past the sentry posted at the main gate, outsmarted his would-be captors and made an unauthorized liberty call on Washington, D.C. for two days. The search ended when Chesty II was returned to the Barracks in a police paddy wagon...just in time for a Friday Evening parade.

However, that was the last straw - Chesty II was in need of additional training. The training was to take the form of boot camp, which is usually a Marine's first assignment after enlistment. However, since Chesty II was to hold such a lofty office, the requirement was waived, but not for long. The rigorous training the mascot was scheduled to receive began shortly after his return to the Barracks so that, hopefully, the misguided pup would be graduated prior to the 1963 parade season.

Although the first parade of that season was scheduled for May 24, perhaps a more important ceremony (to Chesty II at least) was scheduled for May 17. This was the day Chesty II would be married.

When the Barracks' riotous third mascot was retired, his son, Chesty III, was enlisted and assumed duties as the official Marine Barracks mascot.

Chesty III, unlike his dad, was a model Marine. He received promotions rapidly and never had to be counseled for breach of conduct. He was also a favorite with neighborhood children and like all "squared away" Marines, he was awarded a Good Conduct Medal.

Little is known about Chesty IV. But whether the mascot was a model Marine or not wasn't as important as how much he meant to both the Marines and the crowds who came to see him.

Chesty V made an indeligible impression on President Lyndon B. Johnson during his visit to the Marine Barracks on September 22, 1967. When the announcement resounded over the speakers, Chesty V marched down the center walk, halted on his mark, then sat and looked the President directly in the eye. The President smiled, turned to the Barracks Commanding Officer, Colonel Joseph Fegan Jr., and said, "I'm familiar with the Marine Corps' fantastic training accomplishments but this is most unusual. Well done!" Fortunately, the President did not know that the incident had not been planned. Additionally, this was the first and last time Chesty V performed such a feat.

A rebellious mascot in his own right, Staff Sergeant Chesty V tore up several uniforms and took a nip at General Lewis Walt's French poodle, nearly causing him to miss his second award of the Good Conduct Medal.

During an official Change of Command ceremony held at the Barracks on the 203rd birthday of the United States Marine Corps, Chesty V retired and Chesty VI became the sixth official mascot for the Barracks. Chesty VI had the honor of performing for Presidents Carter and Reagan. He was also one of the many Marines assigned to Marine Barracks who provided support for the Marine Corps Marathons.

Chesty VI's career ended after a Friday Evening Parade when he suffered a heart seizure and died. While mourning the loss of Chesty VI, the Barracks was, at the same time, concerned with the dilemma of obtaining another suitable English bulldog to fulfill the duties of official Marine Barracks mascot.

The search was on and every possibility pursued. At last - good news from the south. A Marine unit in Tennessee had a Marine lance corporal who had all the right qualifications. So, like any other Marine who was needed for an assignment, Lance Corporal Bodacious Little was given orders to the Barracks.

LCpl Little quickly adjusted to life at the "Oldest Post of the Corps" and was subject to the same rules and regulations as all Marines but for one exception. That one difference from the other Marines who march side-by-side in the parade was that "Bo" didn't have to "keep in step."

However troublesome, though, the canine crowd-pleasers are a formal and indeligible part of Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C. and the Marine Corps' image. Commercial artists have picked up on the association between the Corps and the bulldog over the years and have immortalized it on T-shirts and coffee mugs. Although other animals have been used as unit mascots during the Marine Corps' long history, it is the English bulldog that has remained a constant companion to the few and the proud.

Renowned for their tough, muscular and aggressive appearance, the English bulldogs have long suited the Corps' need for a symbol and a faithful mascot. Prone to weight problems, often reluctant to obey orders and always last to fall into formation for physical training, the dogs have also always found favor with struggling junior Marines, who are relived that the Sergeant Major has someone besides them to bark at!


05-13-05, 10:25 AM
Thanks Gary! A very detailed answer and very interesting as well! The other Gary!

Skipper Mullins
05-13-05, 11:33 AM
Great article.