MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO --
“Sit! Stay! Roll over! Salute!” These are all commands that I never thought would be given to any Marine when I arrived here at my first duty station, but that was before I met Cpl. Molly Marine, the depot’s mascot.
Soon after I started working at the public affairs office, I learned that the mascot’s caretaker was being reassigned to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar and I was next in line for the duty of watching over my "fellow
My task was unexpected and unwanted at first, but would eventually turn into a rewarding experience.
Taking care of Molly was an adjustment because I had never before owned or cared for a dog. I was used to living in a clean and quiet room without any interruptions in my free time. But that all changed with Molly
as a roommate.
Molly snored so loudly that my mother could hear her when I talked to her on the telephone. She slobbered all over everything, which made it imperative for me to own multiple pairs of uniforms and do frequent
loads of laundry.
I also had to fight for a position on my bed, as Molly seemed to claim it as hers.
I was responsible for performing well at my job of being a photojournalist and Marine, but now had the difficult task of keeping track of everything that had to do with Molly. I had to make sure she ate right and had
the proper amount of exercise to ensure she was healthy.
Along with my engagements, such as interviews and photo shoots, it was my duty to make sure Molly was in her proper uniform and at motivational formation runs, graduations, and any other ceremony or event
where her presence was requested.
Making it to the office on time in the morning became a game between Molly and me. Every time I gave her an order to hurry and stop sniffing around she would just stop and look at me like: "I don’t have to listen
to you. I outrank you."
As we walked to the office, people would stop me and want to see Molly perform tricks, like her famous salute. This would happen so often I thought to myself, "What is the big deal? She’s just a dog!"
As I spent more time with her at events and during our free time, I started to realize why everyone thought Molly was such a big deal. Molly’s personality grew on me to where even the sound of her snoring next to
my bed was comforting.
I would watch the surprised reactions of the recruits when I would take her with me on different stories. I would smile whenever I saw her showing attention to families who were here to see their Marine graduate.
She provided entertainment for the Marines in the barracks, playing with anyone who gave her attention, and performing tricks for treats. She also visited the Marines standing barracks duty to brighten up their
Molly holds an important position at the depot. When she attends events, especially ones dealing with the local community, people see her character traits and comment how much she is like a real Marine. Molly
wears the uniforms and progresses through the ranks just like every other Marine in the Corps.
Marines, like the bulldog, are often thought of as fierce and strong.
After having passed on the duties of Molly’s care, I find myself missing the extra responsibility and the pleasure of having her companionship. I think Molly’s presence raises the morale of those around her, and in turn, helps them complete their mission.