Marine Corps Recruit Depot welcomes newest mascot

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SAN DIEGO — The Marine Corps Recruit Depot recently welcomed its newest mascot, an English Bulldog named Manny.

Manny turns one on July 9 and is one of the Corps’ biggest ambassadors. He shows up to weekly graduations, where families see their new Marine after a 13-week bootcamp. The pup lives with Cpl. Christian Garcia, a young Marine from Texas who works on training Manny.

“Manny is from Fallbrook and he’s named in honor of Johnny R Manuelito. He was one of the original Navajo code talkers who helped develop and teach the code that helped win Iwo Jima and many other battles,” Garcia said.

Many of the military’s 400 Code Talkers were stationed at MCRD and are largely credited with helping win World War II.

Manny took over for Cpl. Smedley Butler, also an English Bulldog, who is now retired and is set to move in December with his handler, Sgt. Anthony Leite.

“It’s bittersweet. It’s been a really great experience but it was his time. He worked hard for the last five years. It was well worth it for him. He earned it.”

Cpl. Butler was named after General Smedley Butler, who at the time, was the most decorated Marine during World War I. He chose the English Bulldog as the Marine’s mascot during that time because the Germans referred to the U.S. Marines as ‘devil dogs.’ The bulldog was then used in campaign and recruitment posters for the Corps.

Garcia said the dog is not unlike the Marines on base, but he’s also got a playful side.

“The English Bulldog is strong, hard-headed, very committed to the task at hand,” he said. “We call him ‘wiggle butt’ sometimes. He’ll just love every person who comes over and lick their face.”

Manny will be at MCRD for the next four years, serving his time like the other Marines.

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