FORT SILL, Okla._Fort Sill soldiers gathered Monday morning to say hello to their new mascot.
Sergeant Big Deuce VII took the oath to formally join the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Field Artillery. He now joins their other mascot, a goat known as Corporal Short Round, and will be attending all events deemed necessary by his commander.
The 2nd Battalion, 2nd Field Artillery has had a mule mascot since the Army began recognizing them in the 1950s. They say it helps give them a change of pace and also helps them to honor their roots.
It was a day of celebration as Fort Sill welcomed the four-month-old donkey, now known as Big Deuce VII. Lieutenant Colonel Adam Cobb says these mascots go far beyond cheering on the sideline during a sport.
"Coming here and seeing the significance of Big Deuce and Short Round to this battalion has meant a lot. It means a lot to the soldiers and their roots as artillery men," Lt. Col. Cobb explained.
These roots include the old "pack mule" artillery in the Philippines and the Panama Canal area. The mules were used to haul pack howitzers and other forms of ammunition, usually with "short round" right by his side. That's how the mascot animal was chosen, but how was this one selected?
"This is all purely donation based. There is nothing tied to it. We had an individual who knew we were retiring Big Deuce and had one that he offered to donate to us," Lt. Col. Cobb explained.
As Big Deuce VII takes over, many said good bye to Big Deuce VI. The Fires Center of Excellence's Facebook page was updated with a post saying Big Deuce VI retired after 20 years of service and mentioned he had numerous Article 15s, or non-judicial punishment. The Article 15s were for disobeying a general officer, leaving the work area and urinating in public. Cobb says they understand it's a learning process.
"Hopefully he will stay out of trouble. It's going to take him a couple of months to get used to the job Big Deuce VI did," Lt. Col. Cobb said.