Col. Brian Palmer and Sgt. Maj. Dwayne Farr fought back smirks Friday as they swore in Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island's newest sergeant.
Donning his olive- and khaki-colored service uniform, Archibald Hummer, an English bulldog and the depot's official mascot, sat politely on the carpet inside the base's Public Affairs Office to receive a meritorious promotion that has been more than two years in the making. The dog was last promoted in March 2009.
Palmer, commanding officer of Headquarters and Service Battalion, said the promotion is a fitting salute to one of the base's most popular Marines.
"I go to the graduations and I go to the family days, and there is no doubt in my mind that there are more pictures taken with Hummer than with the commanding general," Palmer said, with a chuckle. "Everyone knows the dog, and everyone expects to see the dog. It's quite an honor for me to get to promote the depot mascot."
Hummer's duties include attending Emblem Ceremonies on Thursdays and morning colors ceremonies and graduations on Fridays.
Hummer was a 14-week-old puppy when he became the depot's mascot in 2006, and his rise through the Corps' ranks has included the same amount of scrutiny and paperwork as his two-legged counterparts.
Like other Marines, Hummer took a combat fitness test, during which he tallied 96 tail wags and 14 combat rollovers, earned his gray belt in the Corps' martial arts program, and had a promotion package compiled for his superior officers' consideration. The package included details about his time in service and his experience with families visiting the depot, and touted his expert "lawn fertilization practices."
All of it was put together by Cpl. Russell Midori, a 26-year-old Marine who since March 2010 has been responsible for caring for and living with the dog that now outranks him.
"He's always been an ambitious Marine," Midori said. "It's been two and a half years since he picked up corporal, and that's about 14 dog years. That's a long time to have to wait to pick up a new rank."
The dog is just one in a long line of mascots at Parris Island, starting with Mike, an Irish terrier, in 1915. A memorial to Mike sits across from the commanding officer's quarters and is the oldest monument on the base.
Hummer is the first mascot to earn the rank of sergeant in about 20 years, according to depot officials.
Midori said caring for such an important part of Parris Island history has been an honor.
"Hummer is largely a reflection of my work, and it is a proud moment for me that he picked up sergeant today," Midori said. "When I was doing it, I felt like I was doing it for the depot."
Follow reporter Patrick Donohue at twitter.com/OnBaseBeaufort.