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The Navy’s goat

Letter from Richard Blake

Mascots – January 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine


After reading “Can an ass class be far behind?” [December, 2005, edition] I did some Googling and came up with this article from the US Naval Academy website.

What is the history of Bill the Goat, the Naval Academy’s mascot?

Over 200 years ago, livestock was kept aboard some sea-going naval vessels to provide sailors with food, milk, eggs and, in some cases, pets. One legend about the first association of the goat with Navy football tells of a pet goat who died at sea while on board a Navy ship. The affection for the goat was such that the officers decided to save the skin of the animal and have it mounted upon arrival in port. Two young officers were entrusted with the skin when the ship docked in Baltimore. On the way to the taxidermist, the ensigns dropped in on their alma mater where a football game was in progress. With them — for lack of a suitable storage place — was the goat skin. While watching the first half of the game, one of the officers came up with an idea for some half-time entertainment. When half-time arrived, he romped up and down the sidelines cloaked with the goat skin barely covering his blue uniform. These antics brought howls of laughter from the midshipmen, and the Navy victory that day was attribute

For more information on Bill the Goat and his many predecessors, visit the Public Affairs Office fact sheet page.

Richard Blake