Animal Mascots for Military: Marine Corps Bulldog
What is a mascot, anyhow? A mascot can be an animal , a person or even an object. It is thought that the mascot will bring good luck. To what extent modern people expect their mascot to bring luck or to what extent they just think it is good fun, I don’t know.
Whatever the case; military, universities, sports teams and even companies with brand names have mascots.
The United States Marines have a bulldog for a mascot . Major General Smedley Butler introduced the first marine mascot , which was named “Pvt. Jiggs,” who lived at the Marine barracks in Quantico. He moved up in rank to Sergeant Major. A series of marine bulldogs followed as mascots.
The 12th in a series is a mascot by the name of “Chesty,” named after Marine Lieutenant general Lewis B. “Chesty.” Puller Jr. Chesty lives at the Marine Corp barracks in Washington, D.C. and participates in weekly parades.
The television series of a few years ago about Navy lawyers had one show that dealt with the Marine bulldog mascot. The dog had gotten loose and a neighbor was suing the Marines for “paternity” of a litter of mongrel pups. It was an enjoyable comedy with the woman lawyer Sarah trying to be serious about the lawsuit.
In addition to real animals as mascots there are also toy animals and costumed actors as animals.
Meaning of Mascot
The word mascot goes back to dialect used in Provence and Gascony. It described anything that brought luck to a household. In 1880 French composer Edmond Audran wrote a comic operetta “La Mascotte.” The word had been in use in France long before. Gamblers used it as a slang term derived from a Occitan word masco, meaning “witch.’ The operetta was so popular that it was translated into English as “The Mascot,” giving us a word for any animal, person or object that brings good luck.
Choice of Mascots
The choice of a mascot is usually due to some quality the mascot has that the group wants to identify with. For example sports teams want to express their competitiveness by choosing warriors as mascot symbols.
In the United States there is controversy about mascot choices. Some people object to the use of Native American Indians as mascots. These people think there is something demeaning about it. Personally, I think they should let the Indians decide whether they find it offensive. Some take it as complimentary.
Mascots in the British Army
Royal Regiment of Wales a goat mascot. Officially it is not a goat but a soldier with rank. Lance Corporal William Windsor was retired on 20 May 2009 and will be replaced Many British regiments have live animal mascots. They appear in parades. The 95th Derbyshire Regiment has a ram mascot, the Irish guard has an Irish wolfhound, and the Argyll has a Shetland pony.
The earliest record of a mascot is a goat that belonged to the Royal Welch Fusiliers in the 1775 American war of Independence. The mascots often reflected the area where regiments were recruited like the Derbyshire Ram, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Irish Wolfhound and Welsh Goats.
British Army classifies its mascots as either regimental pets or regimental mascots. The first are unofficial mascots since the Army doesn’t recognize them. The others are official mascots. Official mascots are entitled to services of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps. They also get shelter and food at public expense. The army pays about $55,000 a year on its mascots. The regiments or unit pays for its unofficial mascots or pets.
Those that have qualified as official mascots are the antelope, goat, ram, horse, pony and dog.
- The Queens Royal Hussars
- British cavalry in ceremonials as part of regimental bands uses drum Horses. The horses carry two kettledrums and a rider. The Drums are made of solid silver requiring a sturdy horse to carry the weight. The Drum Horse tradition dates back to the middle of the 18th century.
· The royal Irish Regiment
- In 1970 a Major Hayes on his retirement presented an Irish Wolfhound, named Brian Boru I, as a mascot.
· Irish Guards
- The Irish wolfhound was introduced to the regiment when the members of the Irish Wolfhound Club presented a mascot hoping that it would help promote the breed. The succeeding wolfhounds were named for Irish High Kings or legendary chieftains.
- Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, 5th battalion the royal regiment of Scotland
- Have had Shetland Ponies as mascots since 1922.
- The Royal Welsh
- Goat mascots in the military date back 200 years. They are all called William Windsor or Billy. They march in front of the battalion on all ceremonial events.
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