- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 3, 2015

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) - An admired mascot and veteran member of the 1st Sustainment Command at Fort Bragg has died.

A spokesman for the unit says its miniature mule mascot, Staff Sgt. John Blackjack, has died due to respiratory illness.

The spokesman said Blackjack had been the unit’s mascot since 1983, when he arrived as a 2-year-old. He earned the rank of staff sergeant and was a fixture at many unit ceremonies and events through the years.

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

Maj. Gen. Darrell K. Williams said Blackjack served under 19 commanders and will be greatly missed.

A memorial to honor Blackjack, who died Sunday at North Star Veterinary Hospital in Parkton, is scheduled for June 24.

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