Sunday, August 9, 2009

Military Goats in the News

This is Shenkin, mascot of the Third Battalion, the Welsh Guards, shown here on parade with his regiment last year. The British army has a long tradition of regimental mascots, a tradition which is loosely copied on this side of the ocean (see my post earlier about the change of command parade for 14 Air Maintenance Squadron). Sadly, the British Ministry of Defence announced recently that Shenkin "has died aged 13. Shenkin, who held the record for the longest-serving regimental goat at 12 years, was chosen from the Queen's own herd of Royal Windsor Whites. With his royal connection, both the Queen and Prince Charles would often ask after Shenkin's well-being."

Military goats are soldiering on in the United States, however.

These goats are part of a Utah Army National Guard project to protect its bases from wildfires.

"Utah Guard Enlists Help From ‘A Few Good Goats’
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Jon Soucy
Special to American Forces Press Service

CAMP WILLIAMS, Utah, July 28, 2009 – When it comes to fighting wildfires, most people immediately think of water or fire retardant dropped from helicopters and other aircraft, or soot-covered firefighters using hoses and foam to battle back towering blazes.

Few people, however, think of goats as a firefighting tool, but goats are exactly what the Utah National Guard is using to lessen the potential of wildfires at this installation near Salt Lake City.

The Utah Guard has enlisted more than 1,200 goats and sheep to consume sagebrush and oak brush before this year’s fire season, said Sean Hammond, manager of the Utah Guard's Integrated Training Area. Less brush means less fuel for wildfires, he explained.

But contrary to popular belief, goats won’t eat everything."

Read the whole story here.

At presstime, Mad Padre is unaware of any stores involving the Canadian Forces and goats.

1 comment:

Uncle Dave said...

You'd mentioned not finding any stories about Canadian military goats. Have you heard of Nan, mascot of the Canadian 21st Battalion CEF in WWI? Here's some info about her:

Another illustrious goat from WWI was Sergeant Bill of the Western Cavalry Expeditionary Force:

Sergeant Bill was a war hero!
At Ypres he was found in a shell crater standing over a nervous Prussian guardsman, even though Bill himself had been wounded by shrapnel; at the Second Battle of Ypres he was gassed along with his boys but survived. He fought at Vimy Ridge, was shell shocked at Hill 70, and was wounded twice at Festubert, where he became a hero by knocking three soldiers into a trench seconds before a shell burst precisely where they had been standing.

Dave Stewart
Goat Herder

Mad Padre

Mad Padre
Opinions expressed within are in no way the responsibility of anyone's employers or facilitating agencies and should by rights be taken as nothing more than one person's notional musings, attempted witticisms, and prayerful posturings.


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