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War Stories: A Prank War With Delta Force And SEALs

Check out this soldier's story about what happens when you try and steal the Navy's mascot.


Here’s a never before reported story about the great Army-Navy rivalry and mascot snatching prank that included Delta Force and SEALs. I was a Tac at West Point in the mid 90s. The Friday before Labor Day weekend ’95, the commandant called an unannounced and unprecedented all hands meeting at 0900. At the meeting he shared with the 36 TACs that ESPN had reported that the Navy goat had been snatched, and we were to scour our companies for any leads. The Academy's superintendents had signed an MOA stating mascots were off limits and a standing order was in place prohibiting the practice. This stemmed from a notorious Army mule snatch in ’91 - it was reported the cadet guards were overpowered, the mule snatched and driven a back way to the Naval Academy while state police searched the highway for the mule (what wasn’t reported was that the guards were actually Army MPs, and one had his arm broken and that SEALs were involved).


The concern was the escalation in pranking was going to get someone killed. The Commandant stated that Labor Day passes were going to be canceled effective at 1200 and the Corps would be locked down if the goatnappers didn’t turn themselves in (and risked UCMJ if they forced that decision). Little did I know this escapade was to involve me personally honchoing an “adventure” that would include a 1,200 mile trip, $5,000 cash, avoiding national/local media and Delta.