Army Cadets Accidentally Kidnap Wrong Goat in Effort to Steal Navy's Mascot

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVNovember 24, 2021

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - DECEMBER 14:  Bill the Goat has a snack before the game between the Army Black Knights and the Navy Midshipmen at Lincoln Financial Field on December 14, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Army Cadets accidentally kidnapped the wrong goat during a secret raid of a Maryland farm in search of Navy's mascot, Bill No. 37, over the weekend.

Dave Philipps of the New York Times reported Tuesday that the long tradition of trying to steal the opponent's mascot has continued despite pleas from military officials to stop the practice, which typically happens during the lead-up to the annual Army-Navy football game.

This year's clash between the Black Knights and the Midshipmen is scheduled for Dec. 11, and Army tried to strike first with its "spirit mission" in search for Bill No. 37.

Instead, the cadets returned to West Point—the United States Military Academy—with Bill No. 34, a retired mascot who's 14 years old and deals with arthritis, according to a joint statement from Army and Navy provided to the New York Times.

A military employee told Philipps the goat was returned to the farm Monday and that a veterinarian said the animal was in "good health" following a checkup.

Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams and Vice Adm. Sean Buck, the superintendents of the academies, confirmed in the joint statement the situation is under investigation, saying they are "disappointed by the trust that was broken recently between our brothers and sisters in arms" and the Cadets' actions don't "reflect either academy's core values of dignity and respect."

They also reiterated the stealing of animal mascots is "off limits."

Army (7-3) will likely be the heavy favorite over Navy (2-8) when the teams meet to close out the regular season next month at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.