Naval Academy adds Bill XXXVII to mascot herd

Bill XXXVI is photographed at the Navy-Fordham game on Sept. 3, 2016. In August, mascot Bill XXXV died and the Angora goat's twin brother, Bill XXXVI took over the role.


By MEREDITH NEWMAN | The Capital, Annapolis, Md. | Published: November 15, 2016

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (Tribune News Service) — The Naval Academy has added a new goat to its mascot family, the academy announced this week.

Bill XXXVII will join the academy's current mascot on the sidelines to "keep morale high," the academy said. In August, mascot Bill XXXV died and the Angora goat's twin brother, Bill XXXVI took over the role.

The newest addition traveled from Texas to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport last week. He was then taken to the secret farm where the other Bills live.

The animal's caretaker said Bill XXXVII is "acclimating well to Navy life as a "mascot in training" and is already full of spunk, energy and vitriol towards Army," the academy said.

The goats traditionally are distinguished by Roman numeral, and the location and the names of the caretakers were not released due to security concerns. The Navy mascots have been victims of kidnappings over the years.

Mascots Bill XXXIV and Bill XXXIII are still alive and are in retirement. The academy expects Bill XXXVII to make his football game debut in 2017.

Prior to becoming the mascot in the early 1900s, goats have had a long history with the Navy. The animals were kept on some naval vessels to provide the sailors with food, milk and even as a pet, according to the academy.

Legend has it that the first association with Navy football stems from a pet goat that died while a Navy ship was at sea. The goat was so beloved by the officers that they saved its skin to have it mounted when they reached the port in Baltimore.

Two ensigns were sent to the taxidermist with the skin, but they decided to first stop by the academy football game. At half-time, one of the officers used the skin as a form of entertainment. He "romped up and down the sidelines cloaked with the goat skin barely covering his blue uniform," the academy said.

Navy won that game and the victory was attributed to the "spirit of the late, lamented goat."

©2016 The Capital (Annapolis, Md.)
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