Butler County puppy enlists in the U.S. Marine Corps

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MORGANTOWN, Ky. (WBKO) -- A furry, local mascot took the oath of enlistment today for the United States Marine Corps, and now the private is ready to symbolize Butler County as he serves the Corps.

On the morning of Veterans Day, Butler County High School students gave a big, official-


For the newest private in the United States Marine Corps.

"This is Private Chesty Ray Phelps. He's the newest enlistee for Morgantown in the United States Marine Corps this morning," Morgantown Mayor Billy Phelps stated.

According to Mayor Phelps, the name "Chesty Ray" has a meaningful backstory.

"Chesty is short for Chesty Puller, who's the most decorated man in the Marine Corps. Every Marine knows that. But the Ray part is, our local Veterans of Foreign Wars has a Marine of the Year, or Veteran of the Year who's a marine, and his name is Ray so we named him Chesty Ray," Billy Phelps added.

Early Friday morning, the 11-week-old English Bulldog took the Oath of Enlistment at Butler County High School. A symbolic ceremony providing an even bigger picture, according to Mayor Phelps.

"That's our goal long-term, is to promote him within the school system and the Marine Corps and ROTC. We want to use him to promote positivity within our community."

As the four-legged private rests before heading to his own special boot camp for five weeks, Dog Behavior Consultant Austin Neighbors says Private Phelps' training is already set.

"This is a first of this sort, so it's definitely an honor to take this guy home on Veterans Day."

"Basically he's going to go through the basics the first week, give him back to his family for a week, then come back with us for four, four and a half, maybe even five weeks to ensure he grows up to live a happy and balanced life," Austin Neighbors stated.

And from a Marine's standpoint, Staff Sergeant Jeremy Caraway can't help but smile when he looks at Chesty.

"It's always a brighter day seeing a bulldog around."

"That is our official mascot. It's at every major base, it's at every major function for the Marine Corps. Whenever you see the animal, you understand it not only represents the Marine Corps, but also the United States of America," Sergeant Jeremy Caraway added.

Although it's an exciting day for Butler County, those in the high school gymnasium haven't forgotten what today is all about.

"Happy birthday, Marines, happy Veterans Day, veterans," Sergeant Caraway stated.

"We're such a great country because people take time out of their lives to serve in our U.S. military," Mayor Billy Phelps mentioned.

As Private Chesty Ray Phelps goes through his five-week special boot camp, Mayor Phelps says Private Phelps will go on furlough to make an appearance at Butler County's Christmas Day Parade.

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