New mascot for San Diego Marine recruit depot has big paws to fill

By Irene Loewenson

There’s a new top dog at the Marine Corps’ West Coast boot camp.

Pvt. Bruno, a 5-month-old English bulldog, on Friday assumed the role of official mascot to Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, taking over from Cpl. Manny, 4, also an English bulldog.

Bruno has been training hard for his new role.

Recruit Bruno “makes a phone call home” during receiving at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, Feb. 23. (Lance Cpl. Alex Devereux/Marine Corps)

Tongue-in-cheek photos posted to the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service depict Bruno going through “recruit training” — getting an initial haircut, sniffing the phone that recruits use to make their one call home and going on a final “hike,” which for him lasted about 400 yards.

His training has actually entailed adjusting to the training grounds (he loves the ropes) and working with military police dog handlers on how to be sociable and responsive to commands, even in spite of the noise that accompanies big ceremonies, according to Bruno’s handler, Sgt. Tyler W. Abbott.

“He definitely has more freedom,” Abbott said of Bruno, now that the dog has earned the Eagle, Globe and Anchor. “And he gets to call himself a Marine. Every time he barks, he sounds more like a Marine and less like a recruit.”

Recruit Bruno participates in martial arts training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, March 2. (Lance Cpl. Alex Devereux/Marine Corps)

Once the communications strategy and operations shop decided it was time for Manny to retire, the military police K-9 handlers went to breeders in the area to assemble a list of puppies with the qualities befitting a Marine mascot. Those included an outgoing temperament, friendliness and responsiveness, according to Abbott, who also is the platoon sergeant for the depot’s communication strategy team.

Bulldogs have been a symbol of the Marine Corps since at least World War I.

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