Media Contact

For media inquiries, please email [email protected] or call (410) 295-1026.

Purchase Digital Photography From the Archives!

Sea Dogs

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Dogs have long been popular mascots in the United States sea services for their ability to build morale. In the early days, dogs often served a more practical function by leading patrols onto foreign shores to search for food and warn of any dangers lurking out of eyesight. But mostly, dogs provided welcome relief from the monotony of being at sea for months on end.



Quartermaster's gang and mascot dog of the USS Colorado, ca 1871. The sailor holding the spool is George Willis. Willis was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1873 for gallant and meritorious conduct that saved his shipmates aboard the USS Tigress during a severe storm in Arctic waters.
Mike, the mascot of the USS New York, is decorated for the anniversary of the Battle of Santiago, 1899. The New York (renamed the USS Rochester) was scuttled in 1941 to prevent it from being captured when the Philippines fell to Japanese forces. The wreck is now an artificial reef and a popular site for divers.
The mascot of the USS Cleveland joins a theatrical production staged by the ships crew while deployed in Asia, ca 1907.
The new family of the USS Texas, 1915. The Texas is now a museum near Houston and has been designated a National Historic Landmark. It is one of six surviving ships to have seen action in both World Wars.
"Hey Bub, gotta light?" Two Marines appear to have found a clever gimmick to attract potential new recruits, ca 1918. The chevrons on the dog's uniform may indicate that the animal served in France.
Beginning in WWI, The English Bulldog was considered the unofficial mascot of the Marines until "Jiggs" (pictured at a sporting event in 1923) was given the official duty in 1922. He was succeeded by a line of dogs known as "Jiggs" until the mascots were bestowed with the name "Smedley" in honor of Marine Major General Smedley Butler. Since 1957, the Marine mascot has carried the name "Chesty" in tribute to the legendary Lieutenant General Lewis "Chesty" Puller.   
Mess stewards aboard the USS Seattle pose with their instruments and mascot, ca 1923. Following the Spanish-American War in 1898, the Navy recruited Filipinos to serve almost exclusively as stewards in ship galleys and wardrooms. It was not until the 1970s that Filipinos had the opportunity to enter any rating for which they qualified. The program for recruiting Filipinos ended in 1991 when the lease for U.S. Navy bases in the Philippines expired.
The mascot of the USS Palos does not seem to be trying very hard to inspire the ship's football team, the Palos Hell-Hounds, ca 1924. The Palos spent its entire career protecting U.S. citizens and property against warlords and pirates operating along the Yangtze River, China.
"Dogo" proved to be a good luck charm for the crew of a freighter that had traversed 160.000 nautical miles between 1941 and 1943 without coming into contact with the enemy.
A well mannered and well dressed mascot replete with pilot wings on his shoulder poses with one of his favorite pilots at a Naval air station in Florida, 1943.
"'Salty,' mascot aboard a Coast Guard-manned Destroyer Escort, is all slicked up for shore liberty at an undisclosed port in the European war theater. 'Salty' wears the rate of ship's cook third class. It should be cook watcher first class," ca 1943.
"A rough and ready, hearty and salty old sea dog is 'Barnacle Bull,' mascot aboard a Coast Guard-manned assault transport somewhere in the Pacific. A veteran campaigner, 'Barnacle Bill' wears his white hat at a jaunty angle and wonders what's holding up Mess Call," ca 1944
"'Blackout,' the satin-coated mascot of a Coast Guard-manned LCI, wears a life jacket - just in case. It was made by one of his Coast Guard pals. 'Blackout' might find himself dunked in Europe's war waters and he's prepared. There are three battle stars on 'Blackout's' service ribbon. He hit the beaches of Sicily, Italy, and Normandy," ca 1944
"'Nippy,' mascot of a Coast Guard beach party on Saipan, takes a look around. Left behind by fleeing Japanese troops, 'Nippy' was immediately taken over by the Coast Guard beach party," 1944
"'Smokey,' the only living creature Coast Guardsman found aboard a tanker that burned following a collision with a sister ship off the Florida coast several months ago, has been promoted by her guardians, crew members of a Coast Guard fire boat at Port Everglades, Fla., to "Bones' Mates, Second Class", and issued an official identification card giving her occupation as "expert eater". The card is signed with Smokey's "X" (crossed bones) and is paw-printed. Eighty-eight lives were lost in the collision of the two tankers and ensuing fire," 1944
"Sinbad," one of the most popular mascots of the Coast Guard, poses on one of the guns of the cutter Campbell in 1944. "Sinbad" was the subject of the 1946 Universal Pictures short film "Sinbad: Dog of the Seven Seas."
Two Coast Guardsmen cannot contain their delight with two pups mothered by "Queenie" aboard a troop transport ship in the Mediterranean, 1945
"'I'll take care of this new seaman, boys' is what BMC/Dog Maximillian Talisman seems to be saying here. The pup is the new mascot on board the Coast Guard Cutter Klamath and is relieving Max who retires with more than seven years afloat."
Marine Pvt. John W. Emmons, and the Sixth Division's mascot dog sleep beside a 105mm howitzer on Okinawa, 1945. The Sixth Division suffered almost 2700 casualties during the battle, with another 1,300 being evacuated because of either exhaustion or fatigue.
A Marine in the 7th War Dog Platoon, 25th Regt., takes a nap while Butch, his war dog, stands guard on Iwo Jima, 1945. Dogs helped alert Marines to hidden Japanese soldiers and snipers playing dead in bunkers. 
Wearing the squadron's "Sundowners" emblem, the mascot of VF-11 joins pilots during a briefing aboard the USS Hornet in 1945. VF-11 were known as the "Sundowners" because of their success against Japanese aircraft.  Triple ace Charles "Skull" Stimpson is seated on the inside of the right aisle, third from the front. 
"Here is 'Skunk,' the mascot of the Coast Guard icebreaker Eastwind, sometime in 1947."
"Jinx, is no jinx". A Mexican Chihauhua named Jinx accompanies Marine Captain Malcom Evans in his Corsair fighter-bomber on another combat mission over North Korea in 1952.  "When Jinx has completed his tenth combat mission with out a jinx, we might change his name to 'Lucky'," stated Captain Evans.
"'I never had it so good' - Sukoshi, mascot of a Marine contingent in Korea, is enjoying the issue of winter parkas to the men as much as they are. Here he takes a ride in the parka hood of Sergeant Thomas F. Bowman, St Louis, Mo.," 1952 
Marine Barracks mascot Chesty XII, shortly before retiring and being replaced by Chesty XIII in 2008.


Conferences and Events

2018 U.S. Naval Institute Annual Meeting

Wed, 2018-05-02

2018 U.S. Naval Institute Annual MeetingWednesday, 2 May 20184:00 - 5:45 p.m.Washington, DC The 145th Annual Meeting of the...

View All

From the Press

26 April - Presentation

Thu, 2018-04-26

28 April - Festival

Sat, 2018-04-28

Why Become a Member of the U.S. Naval Institute?

As an independent forum for over 140 years, the Naval Institute has been nurturing creative thinkers who responsibly raise their voices on matters relating to national defense.

Become a Member Renew Membership