Female on the front line of mascots
Fort Sill's "Big Deuce Battalion" made history Monday by introducing gender integration to its mascot duo and sending retired Cpl. Short Round V back to the place of his birth.
2nd Battalion, 2nd Field Artillery, and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., are the only Army units that have mascots, battalion commander Lt. Col. James C. Dayhoff pointed out at a mascot retirement and enlistment ceremony at Sanders Stables.
2-2 FA has two mascots, appropriately enough. Sgt. Big Deuce VII, a donkey, serves as a symbol of the Army's muleskinner artillery days. His trusted adviser is a goat named Short Round, and it was the fifth of that name who enjoyed his moment in the spotlight, much to the annoyance of a certain four-legged companion who's used to hogging it all to himself. The honoree pawed the gravel in anxious anticipation of greener pastures.
Now that all field artillery military occupational specialties have been opened up to women, Dayhoff said he has tried hard to get some female 13 Bravos. As it turns out, the new Short Round VI will be the first.
Capt. Kelly S. Turner, commander of Alpha Battery, 2-2 FA, administered the oath of enlistment to the enlistee. Spc. Stephen Gran, her handler, provided the appropriate responses when Pvt. 1st Class Short Round VI was called on to pledge she would defend the nation against its enemies, both foreign and domestic.
Her predecessor, a distinguished red Boer goat who's getting up in years, was recognized for the sacrifices and commitments he has demonstrated in support of the nation.
Retired Col. Scott Patton of Iron Eagle Ranch donated Short Round VI, and one of his daughters donated Short Round V in 2009, when the goat was a year old. That was Danielle Patton, who's now at the University of Oklahoma. His other daughter, Brooklyn Marcum, is married and living at the ranch.