Thursday, October 04, 2007

1,200-Pound Marine Retires

Marine Corps News October 03, 2007

MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE BARSTOW, Calif. -- A Marine’s years of service are usually rewarded with a good retirement check and continued benefits, but for one 1,200 pound Marine, retirement means lots of good carrots in an open pasture in Arizona.

Marianas Honey, one of the Palomino Mustangs that served in the Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard, was medically retired Monday, after 17 years of service, due to an old injury to her knee, said Gunnery Sgt. Ivan Collazo-Sanchez, staff noncommissioned officer in charge, base stables.
Honey was born in 1986 in the lands protected by the Bureau of Land Management in the state of Nevada.

She was captured two years later by Land Mark 222, Calico Mountains, Nevada.
After her capture she was transferred to the Palomino Valley Wild Horse and Burro Placement Center in Sparks, Nevada.

When she turned three she was adopted by Headquarters Battalion, Marine Corps Logistics Base, Barstow, Calif., where she would train to be “One of the Few, the Proud.”
Before she could go to parades, she had to undergo extensive training to include: crowd control and tactical maneuvers and marching.

After her training she finally earned the title “Marine,” March 11, 1998. She was also given a Marine name, “Marianas Honey, ” in honor of the Marines that breached the Marianas Islands in the battle of Saipan during World War II.

Since that time she has officially made appearances in 267 events throughout the western United States to include nine appearances in the Tournament of Roses Parade, in Pasadena, Calif., with her last performance being the Pelco’s Toys for Tots Parade in Clovis, Calif.
Throughout the many events, Honey carried out her duties willingly without hesitation, despite the fact that she carried a potentially crippling injury within her, said Collazo-Sanchez.
He said Honey showed signs of injury a week before the 2006 Rose Bowl Parade, and she would have to be replaced by the backup horse.

After taking her to the veterinarian, it was discovered that Honey’s front left quarter had an old bone crack in her knee, that if gone unnoticed further, would ultimately make her go lame. This would eventually require her to be humanly put down, said Collazo-Sanchez.
The veterinarian said Marianas Honey’s injury was so severe that she would not even be able to carry a child much less a Marine.

“She proudly carried Marines in spite of her injury, because of her performances, many people have joined the Corps and many old Marines wish they were still in,” said Collazo-Sanchez.
One group in particular that will definitely miss Honey’s presence is the First Marine Division Association Los Angeles Chapter, he said.

“We are their favorite unit,. When we visit you can see the tears in the eyes of the retirees, during our performance for morning and evening colors” said Collazo-Sanchez.

Her 17 years of service in horse years is equivalent to 38 human years, and after all that time of faithful service as part of the only remaining Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard, she will retire to live with a familiar face, Staff Sgt. Cody Sepulvida former member of the Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard, who separated from the Marine Corps in January.
“That was her baby,” said Collazo-Sanchez, “they were together 2 years before [Sepulvida] separated from the Marine Corps”.

He said nothing gives him more joy to see her go to another Marine.

It seems an almost perfect ending for a Marine that gave her all in service to the Marine Corps, said Collazo-Sanchez.

“To see them take care of each other in the coming years is the way it should be,” he said, “Marines caring for Marines.”

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