The 8th & I Reunion Association
An organization of Marines
who served at
8th & I Streets, S.E.,
Memories of the 50's - SgtMaj Blackie
2-17-13 ... Hey Former Barracks Marines from the 60's and earlier do you remember SgtMaj & MGySgt BLACKIE?
I recall during my checking into H&HS Co Office in January of 1965 the 1stSgt told that if I saw SgtMaj Blackie sleeping in my rack I was to find somewhere else to rack out. He then dismissed me. Boy did that ever confuse me! Why the hell would the SgtMaj want to rack out in my rack? Later on that day I saw this little black mixed breed dog wearing dress blue's complete with SgtMaj stripes and two or three hashmarks and a Good Conduct & National Defense Ribbon. Now I've always loved animals growing up in central Illinois so I leaned over to pet this mutt and only my quick reflexes kept me from getting my hand ripped off by this "SgtMaj"! In talking with some of the D&B Marines I found out that SgtMaj Blackie chose his friends and only those so chosen were allowed by him to pat him and even then not very much. He had an Official Marine Record Book kept in the S-1 Offices just like mine and all the other Marines was kept. The Mess Sgt was responsible for feeding him a prescribed diet by a veterinarian as well as his heart medicine, not an easy feat I learned. The Guard Section was responsible for "catching" the SgtMaj prior to Morning Colors each day and putting on a fresh squared away clean uniform. One day he wore his dress blues with SgtMaj chevrons an the next Dress Red's (for the Band and D&B) with MGySgt Chevrons. On occasion the Guard Section was unable to "find" SgMaj Blackie prior to Morning Colors. The entire D&B marched out splitting into two wings flanking the flag pole, either Top Toole (the D&B Bandmaster) or Drum Major Belschner at Parade Rest front and center on the "Center Walk" slightly out from the "Troop Walk". The 3 Marine Color Detail of the Guard Section was deployed with the National Colors hooked to the halyards of the main Flag Pole, one on each side holding the halyards and the other at the "Ship's Bell" ready to strike 8 Bells. Then the Sgt of the Guard and the OD would march out onto Center Walk with the OD halting at the Staff Reviewing spot on the Center Walk while the Sgt of the Guard continued to march across Center Walk, halting at the Flag Pole to inspect that the National Colors were properly hooked up. Then he would march back to the middle of the Center Walk, Halt, do an About Face and he and the OD would go to Parade Rest. Meanwhile the Cpl of the Guard was standing in the open doorway of the Guard House watching the Guard House Clock (which had been adjusted to match the Navy Observatory Official Time at 0700 hrs. that morning) for the 0800 time to arrive. When the clock arrived at 0800 the Cpl of the Guard blew his whistle and the Drum Major commanded Attention, and brought the instruments of the D&B up. Then the Sgt of the Guard commanded, "STRIKE EIGHT BELLS, SOUND AND RAISE MORNING COLORS"! The Guard at the Bell struck eight bells and the Drum Major gave the downbeat and the D&B sounded ATTENTION, followed by MORNING COLORS. At the first note of Morning Colors the Guard began hoisting the National Colors briskly up the Main Flag Pole until it reached the top at which time they also Presented Arms. Also at the first note of Morning Colors the OD and Sgt of the Guard Presented Arms as did all Marines outside. At the conclusion of sounding MORNING COLORS after 3 beats the D&B sounded "CARRY ON!" The Guards at the Main Flag Pole secured the halyards as the D&B played a couple of musical numbers followed by "THE MARINE'S HYMN" Then everyone marched off in the same manner as which they had marched on.
Remember, I said that occasionally SgtMaj Blackie eluded the Guard Section? On those occasions he would hide, usually some where under a bush. At the first musical note sounded he would race out, dash over to the Main Flag Pole and attempt to grab onto the halyards as the National Colors were being hoisted. Sometimes he succeeded and actually was hoisted a couple of feet up into the air before loosing his grip and falling down onto the concert giving a small "yelp"! Then he would "march" smartly out to where either Top Toole or the Drum Major was conducting in their freshly spit shined shoes and smartly sit down at attention on the toe of their shoe!. This of course only irritated the hell out of Drum Major Belschner, though Top Toole seemed to grin at it. At the completion of all the music and as everyone began to march off SgtMaj Blackie would smartly march right down the middle of the south end of the parade deck with his head held high. Of course there was a waiting member of the Guard Section ready to catch him when he got to the parking lot.
Another of SgtMaj Blackie's favorite "tricks" was to hide until the oncoming Guard Section fell out for Formal Guard Mounting. As the OD began his inspection SgtMaj Blackie with "sneak" quietly up and lie down alongside the OD's feet to his right side. With a new Lt fresh to the Barracks this usually resulted in the OD tripping over SgtMaj Blackie in an undignified 8th & I manner, while attempting to maintain his rigid formality. Of course, the Sgt of the Guard some how always seemed to "miss" SgtMaj Blackie's stealthy approach and positioning with a complete look of innocence worthy of being one of the original "Disciples"!
Once the Uniform change had been successfully carried out in the Guard House SgtMaj Blackie was allowed his freedom of the Post. The first thing he would usually do was march straight over to the bushes in front of the Arcade and wallow around in the mulch to "adjust" his uniform appearance while glaring at the watching Guards. Then he marched down to the Main Gate, Post #1 and inspected the facilities and the Guard on Duty and then he "flanked" guard on the gate a few times, and maybe even sat down and observed those "civilians" out on the street in their unmilitary manner. Then it was over to one of his favorite places to lie down. One of the two hatches leading into the hallway in front of the Band's Offices where he would lie down on the outside step. New Marines to the Barracks quickly learned to use the other hatchway and not disturb the SgtMaj's relaxing time! Veterans of the Barracks, including the CO knew enough to use the other hatchway.
Occasionally a "civilian" dog would attempt to sneak by Post #1 and when observed by SgtMaj Blackie he would instantly charge full speed down to the offender, and regardless of "civilian dog's" size force him into a tactical high speed retreat in fear of his life. Then of course SgtMaj Blackie would Flank Guard on the #1 Post a few times and then sit down to insure the safety of the Barracks.
Mid-morning to close to noon time SgtMaj Blackie would march through the main gate out onto the sidewalk and march south towards the Navy Yard. He always observed the walk signals of the traffic lights and nodded at those store owners/shop keepers and bar owners who he knew and at times even permitted especially favored ones a pat. Once at the Navy Yard he marched through the old Gate and inspected the Guard Section's area for a short time and then he marched across the Parade Deck and over to the Ceremonial Guard Company's Barracks and entered. Of course he was always welcomed as one of their own. After his visit there he marched back to the Barracks and visited the Mess Hall for his noon repast. He always "expected" his food to be served on a clean paper plate. On foul weather days and at night time he usually spent time in the main Guard House where his favorite sport was to torment then LCpl Chesty. LCpl Chesty lived in mortal fear of the SgtMaj when he was in the Guard House and hide from him. From time to time SgtMaj Blackie felt it necessary to reinforce his superior rank by a nip or two out of LCpl Chesty.
Formal parades and ceremonies required that the Guard Section catch and secure SgtMaj Blackie in the Guard House which they were usually successful in doing. But once or twice managed to elude the Guard Section. On those occasions, hiding SgtMaj Blackie waited until the command "PASS IN REVIEW" was given and out would come SgtMaj Blackie from his hiding location and assume a position directly in front of the Parade Staff and he would strut front and center leading the parade the length of the parade deck marching off proudly across the parking lot. I think I only say it happen twice but it was a sight I'll never forget and I don't think I ever saw any Marine marching down the Parade Deck with anymore pride than SgtMaj Blackie did on those occasions.
The first Christmas of Gen Chapman's tour as CMC the Guard House received a Christmas Card addressed to "SgtMaj Blackie C/O Guard Section, Marine Barracks, 8th & I Sts., S.E., Washington, D.C." It was signed, "Master Henry Chapman". That was the Dashound pet of Gen Chapman and his wife. I happened to be standing Duty Music of the Guard when everyone chipped in and purchased a Christmas Card from the Post Exchange and managed to ink SgtMaj Blackie's right front paw and put it onto the Christmas Card. Below the "signature" paw print neatly printed was "SgtMaj Blackie, Senior Marine in Residence, Marine Barracks, 8th & I Sts., S.E., Washington, D.C." It was addressed to "Master Henry Chapman" with CMC's house address on it, then dropped into the mail box and delivered via the US Postal Service to CMC's residence. Once we all got over laughing about this "prank" those of us who were planning on a career and keeping our stripes began to "sweat" a little about how CMC might view this. It was an anxious few days of silence and then we got word that Gen Chapman and his wife "loved" the card and had prominently placed it on the fireplace mantle for all to see and Gen Chapman even went out of his way to make sure everyone who visited CMC's house that Christmas season saw it and heard the story!
In my own personal attempt to gain SgtMaj Blackie's friendship I often stood close to him and gently talked to him. I found out that he loved Hersey bars, but they had to be broken up into pieces and served on a clean paper plate. So I would purchase one in the PX then bum a paper plate from the Club, break the Hersey bar up into small pieces, put it on the paper plate and then put it near a chair where I would sit. First couple of times I ended up eating the candy bar myself after the SgtMaj showed his distain of my offering. But finally one day he came over, glared at me, uttered a gentle growl and then ate my offering. After a couple of times of doing this and always talking to him he finally permitted me to pet him. Funny thing that I learned from the Club Bartender was that SgtMaj Blackie would never eat any Hersey Bar that had almonds in it, even it the almonds were removed. I managed to find and old Barracks newspaper with an article about SgtMaj Blackie in it in which it stated that it was rumored that a drunk NCO returning to the Barracks after a night in a local bar found this little black mutt puppy and snuck it into the Barracks. Over time it was sort of adopted by the Marines of H&HS Co who lived in the Barracks squad bays and kept hidden. When he was "officially" discovered he had become so beloved that he was allowed to remain as the "unofficial" mascot of the Barracks and eventually a dress blue uniform was made for him at the local uniform store across the street. When the Marines in the D&B and the Band saw him dressed in "blues" they had a "red" uniform made up for him. I also learned that he had earned his stripes and hashmarks just like we did over time. There was one occasion when he was formally charged with some infraction and marched into the CO of H&HS Co for an Article 15 Hearing. He was busted down from SgtMaj/MGySgt to 1stSgt/MSgt. Apparently he recognized the change in his rank on his uniform because he forcibly refused to allow it to be placed on him with several members of Guard Section getting a nasty nip in the attempt over several days. Finally the NCOIC of Guard Section went to the 1stSgt of H&HS Co and together they got the CO to change the reduction in rank to a "suspended reduction" and his SgtMaj/MGySgt stripes were re-sewn onto his uniforms and you guessed it. He allowed them to put his uniform back on.
I'm sure that many of you have favorite stories about SgtMaj Blackie that I have never heard. I remember when he was found curled up and dead by the Guard. There were a lot of tough Marines with tears in their eyes when they learned of his passing. I can't recall for certain but it seems to me that I recall he was buried on a Sunday in front of the Saluting Battery by the Guard Section with a bugler and flag, but in an unmarked grave. I may be wrong about that but I distinctly remember shedding a few tears when I learned of his passing. For quite a while afterwards I would catch myself looking for him on his favorite door step on the arcade. I've always been a sucker for dogs and Blackie was one of my all time favorites.
The Chesty we had back then was one of the dumbest and most unloveable animals I think I ever recall seeing. The poor Marine who had to march him across Center Walk during Evening Parades had to have a really strong right arm to be able to pull him up when he was supposed to "jump" up as he didn't always want to do that. Of course some of that might have been caused by a trash can being placed over him in the back of the guard house when he was a puppy and then hitting it with a night stick to watch it run around the place bumping into things while inside the can. Later on after I was a SSgt there was a SSgt who was made NCOIC of Guard Section. He had over 16 years in the Corps, as evidenced by his 4 hash marks, and had seen a lot of combat in Viet-Nam. We became pretty good friends. I remember him coming into the SNCO club one evening in his dress greens, unusual to see him in them when he didn't have to be. Turned out he had just come from an Article 15 Hearing in front of the H&HS Co CO with Sgt Chesty. Seems Sgt Chesty had defecated on the "Quarterdeck" of the Guard House and it had been noted in the OD's Book. When noted jokingly by the H&HS Co 1stSgt to the new CO he ordered the Article 15 Hearing. So we brought a sorely needed beer for this SSgt to hear the rest of the story. He said something like, I get a phone call from the 1stSgt telling me to get Sgt Chesty in his Dress Greens and march him over to the Co CO for an Article 15 Hearing and I am to be in Dress Greens as well. I asked him if he was shitting me and he really got hot! So I get into my Dress Greens, making sure they are squared away while the Guard gets Sgt Chesty in his Dress Greens. I have had to drag the sob down the arcade over to the H&HS Co Office and the Co Gunny and 1stSgt are waiting and they tell me that I am to march Sgt Chesty into the CO's Office and formally report. I'm looking at them like you got to be shitting me! But they are dead assed serious so after knocking and requesting permission to enter I march into the Co CO's Office, halt in front of his desk and report, SSgt so and so and Sgt Chesty Reporting as Order, Sir! The CO is sitting behind his desk and he formally reads the charge of Conduct Unbecoming a Marine in defecating on the Quarterdeck of the Guard House. Then he looks Sgt Chesty in the eye, as the dumb assed dog is standing there on base liberty looking all over the place, panting and slobber dripping down onto the deck, and asks him if he has anything to say? I mean hear is a college educated 1stLt seriously talking to a dumb assed bulldog like he really is a Marine. Then the CO looks at me and asks me if Sgt Chesty has anything to say? I nearly lost it right there but caught myself just in time as the 1stSgt was glaring at me and said NO SIR! Then the CO gives him a lecture about proper conduct of a Marine and the sanctity of the Quarterdeck of the Guard House. He then states that he is reduced in rank from Sgt to Cpl and says Dismissed. I snapped to Attention and said AYE, AYE SIR! and did an about face nearly falling on my face with the damn lead of that dumb assed bulldog and I finally managed to drag him around to my right side with a great deal of force and I started to march off. That's when I fell in love with big dumb assed bulldog. He looked back over his shoulder at that college educated Marine 1stLt and cut the biggest fart you ever heard! I nearly gagged it stunk so badly and the 1stSgt and Gunny are trying not to gag as well. Then the CO called Cpl Chesty back and I had to do another about face and get him back on the proper side and then march back to the desk, halt and said Yes Sir! Then the 1stLt proceeds to give Cpl Chesty a lecture on not farting in front of a Marine Officer. All the while the 1stSgt, Gunny and me are trying to keep straight faces and not puke from the horrible stench of that fart with Cpl Chesty slobbering away and panting while not giving a damn about any of this. God do I love that dumb assed bulldog! I have to tell you that knowing what a great professional Marine that SSgt was and haring that story in the SNCO Club along with additional input from the Co Gunny and 1stSgt who had also joined the discussion we were all in tears we were laughing so hard!
Dave "DB" Wright, 8th & I, Drum & Bugle Corps and U.S. Marine Band, 1965-1974, Las Vegas, NV
2-18-13 ... Hi - Perhaps I can provide further information with regard to our old 8th & I mascot, Blackie.
Blackie first showed up around the barracks back in the later part of 1953. For some unknown reason or other, dogs and I have always gotten along very well. Blackie and I bonded pretty well. So well, in fact, I returned one night after taps to the barracks from liberty with a few beers under my belt. I was in the top bunk at the end of the third platoon squad bay and when I went to pull the blankets back on my sack, I heard this thumping noise. The clowns in our squad bay had placed Blackie in my sack with my dungaree cap over his head, and when he saw me, his tail was thumping away at about 60 mph. I've attached a couple of pictures of Blackie. The pictures were taken the day I was discharged, February 1, 1954. One of the pictures shows me holding Blackie, saying “goodbye” to my little furry friend. Seated with me was Cpl. Conrad Ellsworth of Baltimore. I believed Conrad reported to 8th & I in October, 1952, after serving a year in Korea.
It broke my heart leaving Blackie, but he was after all, the mascot for all the 8th & I Marines. I would have loved to have snuck him into the trunk of my old '52 Chevy! He was a great dog and loved by us all.
Richard "Dick" Doyle, 8th & I, Barracks Detachment, 2nd & 3rd Platoons, 1952-1954, Long Beach Island, NJ
2-18-13 ...I genuinely enjoyed the memories of SgtMaj “Blackie” and Cpl. “Chesty” shared with us by Dave Wright. His recollection rekindled some very fond reminiscences that I have of our official and “unofficial” mascots.
As enumerated in the original anecdote, the “SgtMaj” was a real piece of work! On those occasions when we were assigned to “work details” at The Barracks “proper” from down in the Navy Yard, he would show-up from-time-to-time during the day to check on our progress as we cheerfully swept, raked, shined, shoveled, etc. our way into the annals of Marine Corps history!
I will never know if he was warning us of the imminent appearance of the Police Sergeant or if he went back to the “Police Shed” to report unsatisfactory performance by the working party! I prefer to believe the former, because it always seemed that the NCOIC would appear shortly after “Blackie” departed from his “inspection”.
Many times he would accompany the detail back to Bldg. 58 for our lunch break. Actually, he led us back! He would take his position in front of the detail and trot along 8th Street in front of us in a regal gait, with his head back, chest out, and his tail and ears up! He never looked back at us until we reached the “M” Street cross-walk, where he would stop, check to make sure we were there and lead us through the Main Gate of the Navy Yard. Then he would make a beeline across the grass in front of “Admirals Row” as if he knew we could not do that! Then he would wait at the front door of Bldg. 58 for us to let him inside (unless someone let him in first!).
He then made his “appointed rounds” throughout the Building usually finishing up at the mess deck where he would sometimes share a repast with “his” Ceremonial Marines. Then it was back to work at Main Side. It's funny now that I think about it, but I do not remember “Blackie” ever waiting for us to go back. He would just appear later in the day to check on us from-time-to-time . . . .
Chesty was something else altogether! He had already been “busted” to Corporal by the time I arrived at The Barracks, but I heard about the circumstances that led to his Article 15 proceedings and events prior to and after the subsequent reduction-in-rank!
As for “Chesty's” infamous capacity for flatulence . . . he was the “Past-Master-of-the-Art-Thereof” and apparently very proud of that ability. I can testify to that capability from, unfortunately, first-hand experience(s)!
I do not know if it was an annual occurrence (although I believe it was since there was a dog house adjacent to the Guard Shack with his name prominently displayed there-on), but in 1965 and '66 Chesty “wintered-over” at Camp #3 at Thurmont, MD. Most of the time he could be found IN the Guard Shack, which was rather small and made living conditions a bit tight at best!
Good old Chest would cut loose with “one” that would make any NBC expert green with envy! I have never in my life seen half-dozen or so hard-ass Marines move so fast getting out of any place as they did getting out of the Guard House and into the fresh air . . . EVER! The odiferous emission was enough to, as the saying goes, “. . . to gag a maggot! It was always truly a joy and benediction to watch the expression on the face of a new platoon member as he looked around and try to figure out who was responsible for the flatulence as everyone made it for the door! “Chesty” would just lie there, as if nothing had happened. Sometimes he would lift his head just enough to see what the commotion was all about; and I am certain it was much to his amusement!
I also distinctly remember “Chesty” having some oral hygiene issues as well. His breath could sometimes “draw blisters on the wall paint” . . . Something akin to the combined smell of kimchi, dried squid and Kirin beer . . . the day after!
Jim "Mustang" Hales, 8th & I, Ceremonial Guard Company, 2nd Platoon, 1965-1966 / 0-3E USMC (Ret.), Blairsville, PA
"We'll All Die As Marines"
Jim Bathurst, Col, USMC (Ret)
2-21-13 ... Hi, My thanks to Dave Wright for his interesting stories about Blackie, the long standing resident of Marine Barracks,8th & I Sts. S.E. Washington, D.C.
You asked for some background on Blackie's arrival at the barracks; so here is what happened, as best as I can recall.
It was a chilly evening in late Dec. 1953 or early Jan. 1954 when a friend of mine, a gentleman named Matt Oley(Sgt. USMC) and I (then a Cpl.) decided that a beverage would warm our bodies. So we stopped in a neighborhood tavern called the Band Box; a family oriented place conveniently located directly across the street from the Main Gate.
After a brief visit at the Band Box we started home. As we were crossing 8th St. we noticed a skinny little black critter that appeared to be following us. We decided that he needed some nourishment so we picked him up and took him into the barracks.
I stayed with the dog while Matt went to the Slop Chute and got some grilled hamburger meat. While the critter consumed the meat Matt and I talked about what to do about our new friend.
First of all was the issue of whether or not anyone would object to our keeping him. Specifically, we were thinking of the man who occupied the office on the 1st floor that had the big letters C.O on the door; one Capt. Charles Stephenson. Unfortunately, as I recall, neither Matt nor I were on a first name basis with the gentleman. Therefore, we didn't feel comfortable about going to his office and saying something like, Hi Charlie, this is Blackie and we have just recruited him.
I guess the next thing on our agenda was the issue of a name. But being young Marines, fully trained to be creative,decisive, and original thinkers; we named him Blackie.
Within the next couple of days we got him a collar and took him to a vet for an exam and shots. We also had a tag made with his name and address, and the Guard House telephone number. I don't remember us ever getting a leash.
I also do not remember anyone ever saying it was okay to keep him; it just seemed to evolve and everyone accepted him. And although he became everyone's dog and roamed all around the complex, he did spend most of his time in our squad bay(where he ate and slept) or the Guard House.
It wasn't long before he was participating in Morning and Evening Colors and was accepted as a permanent member of the Barracks roster.
I left the Barracks in late Oct. 1954 and it wasn't until I attended an Association reunion around 1995 that I learned that Blackie had lived to a ripe old age. I was most delighted to also learn that he was buried with honors in a prominent location on the Parade Deck.
Art Gannon, Sergeant, 8th & I, Barracks Detachment, Color Guard, 1952-1954, Palm Coast, FL
2-20-13 ... I not only remember Blackie, but bricks and the GAS PUMPS, filling up 47 Chevy. MSGT RET "POPS" Sterling, Basement Barber SHOP, my BKs High Shooter name plate for 1955 on wall jn basement of slop chute . STOPPED BY ONE AFTERNOON WITH NEW BRIDE IN EARLY 80's to show her and it was not on any wall in the basement. Told her it would bring her good luck if she rang the bell as we passed it each time at flag pole. She was afraid to.
Also Being on Duty at Main Gate the day then COL. L.F. CHAPMAN Jr new CO, reported aboard in a 54 Ply 4 door w/Japanese Lic Plates w/Family /dog pulling a trailer.
Nobody knew he was coming. As I was still Saluting, He dismounted and tucked his swagger stick under his left arm and returned my salute, greeted and eyeballed my shoes with a nod,. He then turned sharply to the right, briskly marched at 120 per. halted faced left and stood tapping swagger stick into his grove while looking up range ( Does anybody wonder what he was looking at and thinking?)
I WAS ON phone w/Sgt of the Guard I think it was SGT GRIFFEN Reporting that I had a unnamed COL STANDING ,LOOKING AT THE CMC HOUSE W/CAR/ TRAILER /Family/Dog with Japanese Lis Plate sitting OUT SIDE MY DOOR . In hearing AHWHAAwhaaaaS#$% I knew then THAT A %$#$% STORM WAS COMING DOWN and Best for me to step outside door of g/House and go to and remain at PARADE REST LIKE A GOOD MARINE SHOULD !
MORE LATER about the WAKE UP CALL THE BKS HAD THE NEXT MORNING at o dark thirty by the D&B sounding off as they Marched down the 2nd DECK OF south end of Bks playing VERY LOUDLY LEADING COL CHAPMAN W/SWAGGER STICK looking at all the the MY SECOND CALL TO SUPPER IS SOUNDING LIKE IT COULD BE THE LAST THIS DAY SO.......................
8th & I Marine Gene "Mustang" Smallwood, Barracks Detachment & Ceremonial Guard Company, Drill Team, 1955-1958 / USMC 1954-1974, Athens, AL
Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C. recently bade a sad farewell to one of its most cherished hallmarks. Blackie, an ageless resident of the Oldest Post of the Corps, succumbed on October 14, 1966 after a prolonged illness. His death called to mind many found memories for the “old-timers” at the Barracks as the life of this indefatigable mongrel was truly legendary.
In the fall of 1953, a recently promoted Staff Sergeant Oley was downtown one evening celebrating his promotion. As he emerged from a restaurant, he encountered a small black puppy no larger than a softball whimpering on the sidewalk. The pup could not have been more than two weeks old.
Staff Sergeant Oley, a bachelor, brought the pitiful animal back to the Post where he was immediately adopted by all Marines quartered there. He was housed in an empty wall locker in one of the squadbays and spent several weeks in that environment before being discovered by Colonel James P. Berkeley, then Command Officer of the Barracks, during a routine inspection.
Since this transpired before the era of Chesty, a massive English Bulldog and official mascot of the Barracks, the Colonel was just as receptive as the troops had been to the idea of adopting Blackie as the Barracks mascot. He ordered a house erected in the guardhouse for Blackie's use.
From this base of operation, Blackie enjoyed complete freedom for the next four years. In 1957, however, the Marine Barracks procured Chesty as their official mascot. Blackie obviously was not amenable to sharing the spotlight and started dividing his time between the Post at Eight and Eye and the Washington Navy Yard, where the Marine Barracks Guard Company was billeted.
Blackie was warmly received by Marines at both locations. He exuded a degree of dignity and aloofness in doing just as he pleased. His carefree independence was envied by all who live continuously under military regimentation.
Rumors have it that Blackie had relegated to a role of secondary importance through force or influence all who vainly attempted to invade his domain over the past seventeen years. This list of canines runs from the most menacing police dog to the swaggering Chesty who is third in the string of official Barracks mascot.
Blackie was disdainful of responding to anyone's call, be the caller a general or a private. Yet, he would deny no one the opportunity to administering a pat on his revered back should the animal lover condescend to walk to Blackie's present place of occupancy.
Blackie has begun each day over the past seventeen years with a mad dash for the flagpole when morning colors were sounded. He would grab (with teeth, or course) the halyards used to raise Ole Glory over the Post and would be hauled from four feet to halfway up the flagpole before releasing his grip and hobbling to the side of the bugler. After chow, his day was divided between resting in front of the main gate, the guardhouse, or at the Navy Yard.
Blackie began fading during his last few years. His afflictions at the time of his passing were heart trouble, arthritis, loose teeth, and almost total deafness and blindness. In spite of these hindrances Blackie daily negotiated heavy traffic between the Navy Yard and the Barracks.
When the hectic parade season begins next spring, many participants will experience a twang of sadness as they march down the field during the first rehearsal. A small, black friend will not be proudly strutting along with them.
Blackie is gone.
I have retyped the original article from the Barrack's Adjutant's Call that would have been published some time after Blackie's passing and the I.G. Inspection of the Barracks on the 15th, 16th & 17th of November 1966 which events were also listed after the above article. Cpl P.E. Bailey was the Managing Editor and author of the above article, the Commanding Officer was Colonel Robert B. Carney, Jr. and the ISO was Captain M. J. McGowan.
We recently moved from Georgia back to Las Vegas, NV and in the course of unpacking and reviewing things to throw away I found this along with a black and white snapshot that I took of SgtMaj Blackie in his uniform lying on the step in front of one of the doors off of the arcade into the Band Office Hallway that I took in May of 1965. As soon as I can find a way to convert it into a computer file I will send it along.
Dave "DB" Wright, 8th & I, Drum & Bugle Corps and U.S. Marine Band, 1965-1974, Las Vegas, NV