I never really understood why bulldogs were the official mascot of the Marine Corps; English bulldogs, at that (as opposed to an American breed).
I’ve been a dog lover my whole life. I grew up in Oregon with at least 3 dogs in the house at any given moment in time. I love dogs and I can’t imagine my life without one. But please, indulge me for a moment and take a look at this animal:
I don’t mean to pick on him, because he is adorable in a kind of hideous way, but contrast this rather stout puppy with another dog actively serving in the Marine Corps and you can quickly illustrate everything that’s wrong with the Corps in two photos.
Drak, wounded by an IED in Afghanistan
German Shepherd Belgian Malinois here is a dog’s dog, doing real work where it matters. Typically Military Working Dogs (MWDs) are German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois and various lab breeds because of their versatility, intelligence and function in the real world. The English bulldog isn’t so formidable in any circumstance, barely able to tread water if it had to due to its compact body mass. I suppose it reflects metaphorically the idea of the Marine Corps being a small, but fierce force in the world; but it really is an odd choice to represent a fighting force typically seen as fearsome and daunting.
In the end, I don’t particularly care either way, I just couldn’t help but laugh at the idea of Chesty XIV getting promoted to Corporal in the news this week.
It brings to mind a moment I had when I was active duty in Hawaii, living in base housing over by Ft. Hase beach. I took my dog, Charlie, to swim on one weekend. Charlie is a lab mix and adores any chance he can to go into the water. English Bulldogs are a popular choice amongst Marines simply because of their iconic representation within the organization, and I was not surprised to find another Marine at the beach with his stocky little dog. Upon seeing the world of fun me and Charlie were having, he decided he would see how his dog fared in the salty ocean.
He picks the guy up, walks about waist-deep into the water, the dog stricken with a look of terror the entire time. He stops and places the bulldog into the water to see what he would do. The dog, barely able to float, clumsily splashes and kicks his way back to the safety of the shore and vows never to return to the watery prison.
Meanwhile, my dog is looking at him like this:
Charlie the Dog
Apparently there actually was a ceremony where they pinned the dog, but in chucks instead of cammies and it was the Commandant that pinned him. The center panel is not intended to be a drawing of the Commandant.