After a great career representing the Marine Corps, English bulldog Sgt. Chesty XIII stepped down as the corps’ mascot. The much-loved 6-year-old dog served honorably for five years in parades and community events at the Marine Barracks, the oldest post in the corps.
During the retirement ceremony along with Marine comrades last week, Chesty XIII’s successor, Pfc. Chesty XIV was promoted to lance corporal and is starting his new career as the Marine Corps mascot. After completing his obedience school and “marine training” boot camp, the 9-month old has some big paws to fill. Chesty XIV will have a service record and rank just like a regular Marine. He also wears a uniform resembling that of a Marine with rank and medals.
Chesty XIII has a no-nonsense attitude but also likes to play with his ball even if it is for a brief moment. Whenever he sees a ball he’ll do anything to get the ball. He’s also food aggressive and when he follows a command, you better hand him a treat.
The name Chesty comes from Lt. Gen. Lewis “Chesty” Puller, the most decorated Marine of all time. He is the only Marine to be awarded five Navy Crosses. The mascot role has been filled by a bulldog since 1957. Bulldogs represent the fighting spirit of the U.S. Marines because the breed is known to be muscular, aggressive, fearless and tough.
The Marines are very selective when it comes to choosing a mascot. Main criteria, the dog has to be a pure breed. The mascot tradition started in World War I, when the Germans called the attacking Marines “Devil Dogs.”
Retirement for Chesty XIII will be an easy one living with a host family.