The Marine Corps has announced its newest recruit with more fanfare than employed for the average grunt, probably because the recruit is a dog.
The Corps announced Thursday that it is getting a new bulldog pup to take on the mantle of "Chesty" after the current one steps down this summer.
"Recruit Chesty XVI recently began training to replace the retiring Lance Cpl. Chesty XV," the Marines wrote in a press release.
During World War I, the 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, earned the nickname "Teufel Hunden," or devil dogs. According to lore, and the 1/6th official website, Marines were ordered to take a hill at the Battle of Belleau Wood. Fearing mustard gas, they donned gas masks. Fighting their way up the hill, they started to sweat from the heat, foam at the mouth and their eyes turned bloodshot. The hill was so steep it caused the Marines to climb up on all fours. Seeing this unusual assault, the Germans began to yell that they were being attacked by "dogs from hell," the legend goes.
Since then, the English bulldog has been the mascot of the Marine Corps. Chesty the dog came along later.
First came the canines' namesake, human Chesty -- Lt. Gen. Lewis "Chesty" Puller. The most decorated Marine in history, he received five Navy Crosses, one U.S. Army Distinguished Service Cross and the Silver Star for service spanning 37 years and multiple wars.
The bulldog Chesty was named in his honor when the first unofficial mascot donned the Eagle, Globe and Anchor in July 1957. Since then, there have been 15 to carry the moniker.
The 16th Chesty "will remain a 'recruit' until he completes his training and earns the rank of private," Gunnery Sgt. John Walker, the drill master at Marine Barracks Washington, said in a press release. No photos of the latest Chesty had been released as of Thursday afternoon.
In the meantime, the Marines say that Chesty XV will use his three years of experience to "mentor the young English bulldog and show him the ropes" of being the Marine Corps' unofficial mascot, according to the press release.
The service notes that the current mascot has marched in Friday Evening Parades, participated in community events, and attended countless ceremonies in that time.
"Upon his retirement, [Chesty XV] will be adopted by his former caretaker," the press release said.
-- Konstantin Toropin can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @ktoropin.