Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island mourned the death Thursday of the depot's most popular -- and cuddliest -- Marine sergeant.
According to depot officials, Sgt. Archibald Hummer, Parris Island's English bulldog mascot, died in his sleep late Wednesday at the Laurel Bay home of his handler, Sgt. Russell Midori.
Funeral arrangements have yet to be made, depot officials said.
Midori, who had cared for the dog since March 2010, said Hummer will be sorely missed.
"Hummer was a living symbol of Parris Island," Midori said. "He was widely known and loved. He meant a lot to the Marines. Like any fallen Marine, his loss is felt. He was lucky to have a good life. He has a lot of people who cared for him."
Hummer was a 14-week-old puppy when he became the depot's mascot, and was meritoriously promoted in July to the rank of sergeant.
The dog was the first mascot to earn the rank of sergeant in about 20 years, according to depot officials.
Though an icon in his own right, Hummer was only a few brown dots of fur from being a different kind of mascot. The dog was purchased by the Corps from the same Valdosta, Ga., breeder who provides the University of Georgia with its "Uga" bulldog mascots.
Hummer's duties included attending ceremonies during the week and recruit graduations on Fridays.
Hummer was the latest 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.
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- Top Dog! Depot mascot promoted to sergeant, July 22, 2011
- Marines' bulldog mascot has his day, gets promoted, March 14, 2009