News: Depot Mascot promoted to corporal
Story by Sgt. Whitney N. Frasier
MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT, San Diego – The depot mascot, Belleau Wood, was promoted to the rank of corporal by Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego and the Western Recruiting Region’s commanding general and sergeant major Jan.6.
Promoting the depot’s mascot, an English bulldog, may only happen a few times in a dog’s tour of duty, but the event can be even more uncommon for the promoter.
“As you get older, you think you have seen everything,” said Brig. Gen. Daniel D. Yoo, commanding general, MCRD, in reference to his first time promoting a dog.
Sgt. Maj. Sylvester D. Daniels has a different take on this rare opportunity.
“This is the second mascot I have promoted in the Marine Corps,” said Daniels, sergeant major, Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego and Western Recruiting Region. “It’s an honor because they are more than dogs, they are Marines.”
Belleau has been representing the depot since November 2009 after completing recruit training with Alpha Company, and now has new expectations coming her way.
“She needs to work on her discipline and stop ‘mooning’ the crowd,” said Daniels. “If she keeps saluting the general and doing her job, then she’s good with me.”
She is one of three mascots currently serving in the Corps, but comes from a long lineage of prior mascots. MCRD San Diego’s first mascot, James Jolly Plum Duff, made it all the way to the rank of staff sergeant.
Now that Belleau has been promoted, it could call for changes, as she is now a non-commissioned officer of Marines. At the young age of two-years-old, she is more inspired than ever to keep picking up rank and leading Marines.
Belleau, a Texas native, is under the care of the Public Affairs Office and was named after the Battle of Belleau Wood in 1918. Living up to the term “devil dog,” Belleau uses her time wisely attracting the attention of thousands every month.
Belleau’s official duties include greeting families and friends at the motivational run, wandering around on Family Day, making a presence at graduation ceremonies, assisting with VIP tours and various area recruiting events.
“Now that she is an NCO, I expect her to set a good example for K-9s throughout the Corps,” said Col. Wayne Sinclair, commanding officer, Headquarters and Service Battalion. “She's literally on parade before thousands of people every week.”
When the time comes for retirement, Belleau Wood will be dedicated to inspiring her replacement to set the highest standards possible. Until then, she will never forget that she is responsible to her commanding officer for the morale, discipline and efficiency of other Marines.
“You have great potential, Belleau, follow orders, win over the crowd every chance you get, and I'll see you wearing sergeant chevrons before I leave command,” said Sinclair.