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Marines Introduce Their Latest Mascot: “Chesty the Recruit”

“Chesty” is like Uga of the University of Georgia, a bulldog.  And since he’s a dog, he will have to be replaced from time to time with younger — sometimes cuter — versions of himself.

The Chesty will the 14th “Chesty” the United States Marines Corps has used for mascot purposes.  He is kept in Washington, DC and often in the personal care of a battalion at Marine Barracks — Washington, the famous ones near the Naval Yards at the corner of 8th and Eye SE.

The Marines rolled out the red carpet for 9-week old Chesty the Recruit Thursday night at the Home of the Commandants at the Washington, D.C., Marine Barracks. Bonnie Amos, the wife of Marine Corps Commandant James Amos, met the latest Chesty Thursday night.

“My gosh this is the cutest puppy … I think this one will be fine as wine,” Mrs. Amos said in an interview Friday. “He has a great little personality.”

The Marine Corps first announced the arrival of Chesty the Recruit on Facebook and put out a release. After a period of between six and eight weeks of “boot camp,” Chesty the Recruit may have a chance to appear alongside Sgt. Chesty during the Summer time Friday Evening Parades at the Marine Barracks in Washington.

At the end of the parade season, the Marines plan to officially hand over the mascot duties to the new Chesty. (All Marine mascots are named after Lt. Gen. Chesty Puller, the most decorated officer in Marine Corps history.)

“Sgt. Chesty,” officially known as “Chesty the XIII,” is the first of the Chesty’s to be promoted from “Private First Class Chesty” to full sergeant.

Apparently the word is it was a field promotion caused by winning “a growl-off” with out-going SecDef Leon Panetta’s golden retriever “Bravo” last August.  Chesty, who’s normally pretty calm because he’s a standard photo-op for small children attending the Friday Evening Parades, apparently decided he was going to be “Top Dog” when Panetta brought Bravo along for a visit to the Barracks.

Just two weeks before his promotion, the Marine Corps mascot, an English bulldog formally known as Chesty XIII, had a run-in with Bravo, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s golden retriever. Chesty, usually known for happily mugging for photos with kids, revealed his inner grunt when he spotted the larger dog at the conclusion of a pomp-filled military parade held in honor of the Pentagon chief. Chesty growled, barked and ignored his choke-chain of command as he went nose-to-nose with Bravo.

As Chesty’s growl erupted into an angry bark, an officer urgently whispered in the ear of his handler, Sgt. Chris Harris: “Keep the leash tight.”

That kind of breach of decorum at the headquarters barracks, where the top generals and their wives reside, could have been career-ending for most Marines.

Chesty weathered the controversy and came out of it with a new stripe on his uniform.

Word on the barracks was that most of the senior officers wives opposed the promotion for Chesty XIII.

No word yet if White House dog “Bo” visits the Barracks with Pres. Obama.  (He didn’t when the President attended the same Evening Parade I did in 2009.)

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