HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (AP) - A puppy will make U.S. Marine Corps history as the first female mascot for Recruit Depot Parris Island.
An English bulldog named Opha Mae will be the military installation’s 21st mascot, reports The Island Packet of Hilton Head Island.
The depot’s spokesman, Capt. Adam Flores, says Opha Mae is officially a “poolee.” That’s the term for someone who’s signed up to be a Marine but hasn’t left for boot camp yet at either Parris Island or San Diego. The puppy will “begin recruit training” soon, Flores said.
Opha Mae will take over from Cpl. Legend, an English bulldog whose health is declining.
The timing of the replacement process will depend on the depot veterinarian’s evaluation of Cpl. Legend, mascot since 2011, Flores said.
Opha Mae will begin her post with the rank of private.
The puppy is named for Opha Mae Johnson, officially the first female Marine. She was the first of several hundred women to enlist in August 1918 to fill clerical vacancies left by men deployed overseas. By the end of World War I later that year, Johnson had earned the rank of sergeant. She left the military in 1919.
Parris Island’s first mascot in 1914 was an Irish Terrier named Mike.
Information from: The Island Packet, https://www.islandpacket.com
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