Since 1890, the Army cadets have faced the Navy midshipmen, and this year, the rivalry continues at MetLife Stadium on December 11. Several cadets tried to bring back an old tradition of stealing Navy’s mascot, but unfortunately, the prank didn’t end the way they expected.
The U.S. Military cadets traveled to a farm in Annapolis, Maryland, near the Naval Academy, and attempted to steal the current mascot from among the other animals that resided at the property. The only problem was that all of Navy’s retired mascots were at the farm, too, and they all had the same name – Bill. So, instead of kidnapping the current honorary teammate, Bill No. 37, they took one-horned 14-year-old No. 34, according to the New York Times.
Thankfully, the Army cadets returned the Navy mascot to the farm on Monday unharmed. After a visit to the veterinarian, the retired goat received a clean bill of health after his adventure with the rival team.
Academy Officials Address Recent Mascot Incident
Though no damage resulted from the fiasco, neither the U.S. Military Academy nor the U.S. Naval Academy were amused with the prank. On Monday, the two institutions released a statement about the incident.
“The U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy are disappointed by the trust that was broken recently between our brothers and sisters in arms. These actions do not reflect either academy’s core values of dignity and respect,” superintendents Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams and Vice Adm. Sean Buck said in the statement.
While the gesture was likely an effort to pump up the team before the big game, it ended in some bad publicity for the U.S. Military Academy. Within the past 70 years, Army cadets have stolen Navy’s mascot at least 10 times. In the early 1990s, all U.S. military institutions declared that the prank was off-limits. But still, some cadets have tried to revive the tradition.
Army Officials Apologize After Past Prank Ends in an Injured Mascot
The last attempt to make headlines was in 2018 when Army cadets injured Air Force’s mascot during a prank. The falcon named Aurora is Air Force’s official and oldest mascot. The 22-year-old bird had to receive antibiotics for her injuries following the incident. She had to sit out Air Force’s next game in New Mexico. Thankfully, though, veterinarians expected her to make a full recovery and attend future away games after some much-need R&R.
Army officials released a public apology to the Air Force and promised to follow up with a full investigation.
“We are taking this situation very seriously, and this occurrence does not reflect the Army or USMA core values of dignity and respect,” the Academy said, according to Air Force Times.