For hundreds of years, the humble mule has served an important role in the armed forces all over the world. Compact and docile, these surprisingly strong members of the Equus genus have a talent for schlepping packs of equipment, food, and supplies across harsh territory. In fact, long after the U.S. Army had mechanized, as late as the 1950s it was using mules to deal with the challenging southeast Asian terrain during the Korean War.
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I saw one of these at the Greeley Old Time Farm Show in Greeley, Colorado last month. I'd seen pictures of them, but to go up to a living, breathing one, and hear it run was amazing.
We sure have come a long way!
Footnote: ironically, when the Shell oil refinery was built in Martinez California at the turn of the last century much of the machinery had to be brought in by mule and horse teams because the trucks of the day couldn't make it up the steep hills.