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Army Thinking of Bringing Back the Mule

March 08, 1985|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Army decided Thursday to study the issue of returning mules to active duty.

The decision was made by a group of staff officers who met at the Pentagon in response to a directive from the Army chief of staff, Gen. John A. Wickham Jr.

Lt. Col. Miguel Monteverde, an Army spokesman, said that the panel identified a number of problems to resolve, "such as where we would get mules, how we would train them, whether we have the vets to take care of them, how we would use them and even what we would feed them."

He said that no time limit had been placed on the study and that it was unclear at this point how long it would take.

The Army retired its last mules at Ft. Dix, N.J., in the 1950s. The animals were used frequently during World War II, the spokesman said, to carry supplies through the jungles of the Philippines and in Italy and on the Burma Road in the China-Burma-India theater.

According to Lt. Col. Craig MacNab, another spokesman, West Germany and Italy still use mules in some of their military units.

MacNab said that the Army wants to explore the possibility of using mules to move equipment over rough or mountainous terrain in areas where motor vehicles can't travel.

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