Marine Corps League mascot dies

May 9, 2019

He was a central figure in Marine Corps League activities, and he was always there for his comrades, followed orders without complaint and always respected the chain of command. This weekend, the Lake Havasu City community will gather to remember not only a good soldier, but a good dog.

Marine Corps League Sgt. Max, an English bulldog, died last month after a prolonged battle with cancer, ending a six-year tour of duty with the organization.

In 2014, Max had been abandoned, transitioned and removed from boarding facilities throughout California due to an aggressive nature toward other dogs. But that November, he was adopted by members of the Marine Corps League. It was there that Max found his calling. As the organization’s mascot, he participated in the London Bridge Days Parade, the Military Moms golf tournament, Toys for Tots, the Special Olympics and other events throughout the Havasu community. A uniform was eventually designed for him to wear at public events.

According to his obituary this week, Max was promoted to the rank of sergeant in February 2018, and awarded the prestigious Medal of Good Conduct for being “such a good boy.”

In the months before Max’s death, however, he contracted what Marine Corps League member Russ Mascari described as an aggressive form of cancer. Thousands of dollars were invested into Max’s treatment, but it would be the old soldier’s final battle. Max died April 19 in Havasu.

“He got along with people,” Mascari said. “He enjoyed the parades and all the other events he’d been in. We’re sad … we liked hanging around him. We miss him … it’s quiet around here now.”

According to Mascari, Sgt. Max will be honored with a 21-gun salute at his service Saturday, at Lietz-Fraze Funeral Home. Max will receive military honors for his service to the organization, and the Havasu community.

“Since I’ve been here, there hasn’t been a service like this,” said Lietz-Fraze pet director Kristin Jonker. “We honestly treat our four-legged family members just like our human ones … and this will be a nice tribute to a good dog, who represents the Marines.”

The funeral service will take place at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 11. The event will be open to members of the Havasu public.