A Day in the Life: Mascot Handlers

A Day in the Life: Mascot Handlers-9/17/20

FORT SILL, Okla. (TNN) -You’ve probably seen them around at different events. Big Deuce the donkey, and Shortround the goat are the mascots for Fort Sill.

In our latest A Day in the Life segment, 7 News Anchor Makenzie Burk learned the history behind the mascots, and what it takes to look after them.

Staff Sergeant Big Deuce VII, and Specialist Shortround VI are a cardinal part of the field artillery’s history.

“Back in the early 1900s, the mules used to carry cannons, ammunition and soldiers from the Philippines to the mountains of the Panama,” said 2nd Lt. Celine Cantuniar. “And since then obviously our technology has changed, so we don’t need pack animals anymore. However, our battalion wanted to keep our history so no one forgot where we came from.”

Cantuniar says the handlers love taking care of them, and that the mascots provide a great source of morale for the soldiers. Sergeant Paul Grillot says it is a great escape for him.

“It’s kind of therapeutic for me,” said Grillot. “They can be moody just like I can be moody. But I do enjoy looking after them and taking care of their well-being. And I find it’s helpful with my stress and anxiety.”

Grillot says it can be a lot of work taking care of the animals.

“Their daily tasks, they get fed in the morning and at night,” said Grillot. “They need to get groomed. Especially Deuce here, he needs to get brushed, and have his hooves picked. Just kind of general stuff to make sure their health and well-being is taken care of.”

Cantuniar says Specialist Shortround and Staff Sergeant Big Deuce work hard just like any other soldier, and they can be promoted and demoted as well.

“He’s received an article 15 a couple times. He’s bit sergeant majors hand,” said Cantuniar. “So he undergoes all the consequences that a soldier would go through. All in all, he does well. He’s disciplined, and he’s a good soldier.”

Shortround VI has a significant role as she is the first female mascot they’ve ever had, helping to represent females coming into the field artillery community.

Shortround and Big Deuce are one of only two living mascots in the whole army. The only other army organization with living mascots are at West Point.

Tune in for the next A Day in the Life Segment about the field artillery on Fort Sill, and see what a live fire exercise looks like up close.

Copyright 2020 Texoma News Network. All rights reserved.