By Kimberly Keelor for The Island Eye News
Operation Fall Return 2020 at The Citadel has about 2,301 central figures: 2,300 cadets and cadet recruits and one future superstar who represents the return of the live mascot program to campus.
His name is Gen. Mike D. Groshon. His new friends call him G3 for short.
“He’s hot, but he’s really happy to be out here with the cadets. He’s not really sure yet what to do, but he loved being petted,” said Cadet Marrik Kelley, one of two cadet captains who oversee the Mascot Handling Team.
G3’s official name, Gen. Mike D. Groshon, will be familiar to many in The Citadel family and in Charleston. He was named for Coach Mike D. Groshon, Citadel Class of 1976, who passed away in 2016 after caring for several generations of mascots.
“Mike Groshon had been running the program out of the goodness of his own big heart, caring for the bulldogs since 2003,” said retired Lt. Col. Kevin Dougherty, Ph.D., assistant commandant for leadership programs at The Citadel.
Dougherty oversees the mascot program and the cadet handlers, among his many other duties.
“When Mike died, our commandant, Capt. Geno Paluso, began planning how to transition the program to the Commandant’s Department so we could get cadets more involved.” he said.
Naming G3 after Groshon was the decision of the 1977 Citadel alumnus who donated the English bulldog to the college, Dr. John Bradford, a local veterinarian who cared for many of the mascots through the years, including G3’s predecessor, Gen. Robert P. Carson, who died in 2019. The Citadel’s other living mascot, Boo X, lives with Bradford and is expected to retire to “mascot emeritus” in the fall.
Bulldog fans can look forward to seeing and visiting with G3 at future events as the pandemic allows.
“G3’s house on campus is decorated with mascot memorabilia and items from his namesake. We hope to hold open houses during big weekends, like Corps Day,” said Dougherty.