Fort Bragg unit’s mascot mule “Blackjack” dies from respiratory illness

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FORT BRAGG, N.C. — The 1st Sustainment Command at Fort Bragg announced Tuesday on Facebook that its admired mascot and veteran member has died.

Staff Sgt. John Blackjack, a miniature mule, died Sunday from a respiratory illness.

Blackjack had been the unit’s mascot since 1983 when he arrived as a 2-year-old private. He earned the rank of staff sergeant and was a fixture at many unit ceremonies and events through the years. His impact on soldiers and leaders for the past 32 years was unwavering, according to the Facebook post.

The mule was donated to the command by retired Air Force officer, Col. Robert O. Wray, and his wife Roseanne.

“Blackjack proudly served under 19 commanders in his 32 years of service to his country. He was loved by all and will be greatly missed,” said Maj. Gen. Darrell K. Williams, commander, 1st Sustainment Command (Theater).

A memorial to honor Blackjack is scheduled for June 24.